More Weight Loss Linked To Greater Decrease in Knee Arthritis Pain Interview with:

Wake Forest professor of Health and Exercise Science Steve Messier, Friday, June 15, 2018.

Prof. Messier

Professor Steve Messier
Director of the J.B. Snow Biomechanics Laboratory
J.B Snow Biomechanics Laboratory
Wake Forest University Why did you undertake this study?

Response: This was a secondary analysis of the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA) clinical trial originally published in JAMA in 2013, Volume 310, Number 12, pages 11263-1273.

We were interested to see if losing 20% of your body weight had any additional benefits compared to a 10% weight loss that we previously have shown to be beneficial. What most surprised you about these findings? 

Response: That losing greater than 20% of your body weight has additional clinical benefits compared to losing between 10-19.9% of your body weight , between 5-10%, or less than 5% . What do you say to people who say they can’t exercise because of their knee arthritis?

Response: We certainly understand the dramatic effect pain can have on quality of life.  But over 25 years of research is clear..exercising will reduce your pain by 25%. If you slowly increase your exercise time pain should be reduced and mobility increased. Maintaining mobility in older adults is crucial and mild to moderate exercise combined with weight loss is the best prescription. What’s the key takeaway patients should get?

Response: Our results support the NIH recommendation of an initial weight loss of 10% for overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis, the added benefit of substantially greater weight loss, achieved safely, has the added benefit of improved quality of life, and clinically important reductions in pain and improvement in function. 


Stephen P Messier, Allison E Resnik, Daniel P Beavers, Shannon L Mihalko, Gary D Miller, Barbara J Nicklas, Paul DeVita, David J Hunter, Mary F Lyles, Felix Eckstein, Ali Guermazi, Richard F Loeser. Intentional Weight Loss for Overweight and Obese Knee Osteoarthritis Patients: Is More Better? Arthritis Care & Research, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/acr.23608

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Last Updated on June 19, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD