Understanding the relationship between body weight and osteoarthritis

Baillieres Clin Rheumatol. 1997 Nov;11(4):671-81. doi: 10.1016/s0950-3579(97)80003-9.


Overweight people are at high risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) and may also be at increased risk of hand and hip OA. Furthermore, being overweight accelerates disease progression in knee OA. While the increased joint stress accompanying obesity may explain the strong linkage between obesity and knee OA risk, it does not necessarily explain why obese people have a high risk of disease in the hand nor why obese women are at higher comparative risk of knee disease than obese men. Unfortunately, studies of metabolic factors linked to obesity have not provided an explanation for these findings. There are a paucity of data on weight loss as a treatment for OA, but preliminary information suggests it is especially effective in knee disease and that even small amounts of weight reduction may have favourable effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / pathology*
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / complications*
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss