Saturday, August 17, 2013

Yet Another Study Showing Why It’s Smart to Lose Weight

Yeah, I know I’ve beaten on this drum many times.

I know many people react to the advice “lose weight” with an eyeroll, because it’s not as though they haven’t heard that before.

But it’s sometimes useful to show that excess weight does more than simply worsen pain. It causes actual physical damage inside your joints, as this study shows:
Higher levels of body fat were tied to greater knee cartilage losses in older adults, a recently published study found.
There were 395 adults who took part, average age 62. They had changes in the cartilage volume of their right knee measured over three years. Their fat and muscle mass levels were also recorded.

Subjects who lost the most cartilage had a higher BMI and more body fat and trunk fat. On the other hand, muscle mass was found to be protective against cartilage loss.

(Note on the second point: no big surprise there. As I’ve said before, it would be a big surprise only if stronger leg muscles didn’t to some degree protect your knees. However, again, the real question is what you should do once your knees are injured -- and focusing on your, say, quad muscle mass shouldn’t be your chief concern at that point, it seems.)

So once more, this time with feeling: Lose weight for happier knees! As an added benefit, you’ll look and feel better overall.


  1. Thank you for writing this column. I've been following it since January and my knee has been doing a lot better. The last couple weeks though the swelling and stiffness have returned. I've spent a couple hours a week down on the floor tending small children.uh-oh. What do you know about housemaids knee or Prepatellar Bursitis? Thanks again.

  2. Sorry, that's not a condition I've looked into. You might try Knee Guru ... they have an active community of knee pain sufferers, and someone there might be able to offer some thoughts on dealing with prepatellar bursitis.