Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Weight loss programmes 'can benefit obese osteoarthritis patients'

A new study from Denmark has demonstrated that weight management programmes can deliver improved outcomes for obese people affected by knee osteoarthritis.

Led by the University of Copenhagen and the Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, the research aimed to compare the conditions of obese patients with knee osteoarthritis who, after an intensive weight loss regimen, received one year of dietary support or knee exercise training, compared to those who were not given any formal assistance.

A total of 192 obese participants were enrolled, with a mean age of 62.5 years, with 81 percent being women. In the first phase, all participants began a dietary regimen of 400 to 810 and 1,250 kcal/day for 16 weeks to achieve a major weight reduction. The second phase consisted of 52 weeks dietary or exercise-based maintenance, with a control group receiving no further attention.

According to results published in the Arthritis Care & Research journal, the mean weight loss after the first phase was 12.8 kg. After a year on maintenance therapy, the dietary assistance group sustained a lower weight than those in the other two groups, with adherence shown to be lowest in the exercise cohort.

All groups benefited from a statistically significant pain reduction, with no difference between groups either in terms of the level of improvement or the number of people who responded to treatment.

The researchers concluded: "A significant weight reduction with a one-year maintenance programme improves knee osteoarthritis symptoms, irrespective of maintenance programme."

A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK commented: "It's very important that people with knee osteoarthritis attain and stick to their optimum weight, as we know it is a huge factor in reducing pain and increasing their mobility. If weight management programmes can help, that's all to the good."

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Posted on Wednesday 6th May 2015