The independent and combined effects of intensive weight loss and exercise training on bone mineral density in overweight and obese older adults with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014 Jun;22(6):726-33. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.04.002. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


Objective: To determine the effects of dietary-induced weight loss (D) and weight loss plus exercise (D + E) compared to exercise alone (E) on bone mineral density (BMD) in older adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Design: Data come from 284 older (66.0 ± 6.2 years), overweight/obese (body mass index (BMI) 33.4 ± 3.7 kg/m2), adults with knee OA enrolled in the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA) study. Participants were randomized to 18 months of walking and strength training (E; n = 95), dietary-induced weight loss targeting 10% of baseline weight (D; n = 88) or a combination of the two (D + E; n = 101). Body weight and composition (DXA), regional BMD, were obtained at baseline and 18 months.

Results: E, D, and D + E groups lost 1.3 ± 4.5 kg, 9.1 ± 8.6 kg and 10.4 ± 8.0 kg, respectively (P < 0.01). Significant treatment effects were observed for BMD in both hip and femoral neck regions, with the D and D + E groups showing similar relative losses compared to E (both P < 0.01). Despite reduced BMD, fewer overall participants had T-scores indicative of osteoporosis after intervention (9 at 18 months vs 10 at baseline). Within the D and D + E groups, changes in hip and femoral neck, but not spine, BMD correlated positively with changes in body weight (r = 0.21 and 0.54 respectively, both P ≤ 0.01).

Conclusions: Weight loss via an intensive dietary intervention, with or without exercise, results in bone loss at the hip and femoral neck in overweight and obese, older adults with OA. Although the exercise intervention did not attenuate weight loss-associated reductions in BMD, classification of osteoporosis and osteopenia remained unchanged.

Clinical trial registration number: NCT00381290.

Keywords: Bone density; Exercise; Obesity; Osteoarthritis; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diet, Reducing / methods
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / rehabilitation*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / diet therapy
  • Overweight / rehabilitation
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology*

Associated data