Do you have an overweight client who also has knee osteoarthritis? Here’s a bit of encouraging news that might bolster your efforts to help him lose weight and keep it off. According to research presented in November at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC, “very attainable” weight loss goals are enough to reduce pain.
Weight gain increases pounds of pressure and loading forces on the knee structure. Since extra pressure leads to more wear and tear over time, body weight is considered a significant contributor to the onset and progression of knee arthritis. While weight loss can help relieve the pain, clients may consider the effort as overwhelming as the disease itself.
Now, a long-term weight loss study has demonstrated that even modest reductions in weight contribute to improved quality of life. The participants, who were all mildly obese, were generally in their late 50s or early 60s, female and white. The improvements they made were consistent. On average, the group lost 15 pounds over 4 months of weekly meetings focused on diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. The women regained an average of 5.5 pounds the following year. Participants’ initial weight loss was associated with reduced pain levels and a quality of life comparable to that of healthy adults in the same age bracket. The decrease in pain motivated participants to maintain their weight loss.
“For someone who is very overweight, as little as a 15-pound weight loss over 16 weeks can result in decreased discomfort, increased quality of life, and motivation for staying active and healthy,” said Steffany Haaz, project director at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore, in a press release. “That means just 1 pound a week translates into significant improvements in comfort and movement.”