Osteoarthritis, obesity and weight loss: evidence, hypotheses and horizons - a scoping review

Obes Rev. 2014 Jul;15(7):578-86. doi: 10.1111/obr.12173. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


Obesity is widely acknowledged as a risk factor for both the incidence and progression of osteoarthritis, and has a negative influence on outcomes. Loss of at least 10% of body weight, coupled with exercise, is recognized as a cornerstone in the management of obese patients with osteoarthritis, and can lead to significant improvement in symptoms, pain relief, physical function and health-related quality of life. However, questions still remain surrounding optimal management. Given the significant health, social and economic burden of osteoarthritis, especially in obese patients, it is imperative to advance our knowledge of osteoarthritis and obesity, and apply this to improving care and outcomes. This paper overviews what is already known about osteoarthritis and obesity, discusses current key challenges and ongoing hypotheses arising from research in these areas, and finally, postulates what the future may hold in terms of new horizons for obese patients with osteoarthritis.

Keywords: Obesity; osteoarthritis; treatment; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Reducing
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss*