Obesity is not only a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death but is also implicated as a cause of OA, the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of disability. People who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to develop symptomatic knee OA as they age and, therefore, less likely to have major surgical procedures to treat OA symptoms. Being overweight can increase pressure on weight bearing joints and thereby increase pain and inflammation associated with OA. Due to effects on mobility, OA of the hip and knee have the greatest clinical impact. Although the role of excess weight as a contributor to the progression of OA remains unclear, modest weight loss among people with knee OA has been shown to produce meaningful improvements in physical function, self-reported disability, pain symptoms and quality of life. Adults affected by excess weight or obesity with concomitant knee OA who lose just one pound gain a four-fold reduction in knee joint load. These findings underscore the potential public health importance of implementing appropriate weight management approaches for the prevention and treatment of knee OA, while at the same time suggesting the wisdom of weight management for people with OA in other joints.
Educational Objectives: 1) Explain basic science concerning the pathophysiology of OA, obesity and their relationship. 2) Define the diagnostic criteria, and evaluate clinical assessment and implications of OA and obesity, independently and synergistically. 3) Identify prevention and therapeutic strategies for OA and obesity, including non-pharmacologic, pharmacologic, and surgical treatments.