Diet and exercise reduce knee pain in overweight/obese people

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A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a combination of diet and exercise can lead to a significant reduction in knee pain in overweight or obese patients with knee osteoarthritis.

The study, led by Stephen P. Messier, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University, highlights the impact of lifestyle changes in managing osteoarthritis symptoms.

The study involved 823 participants aged 50 and older, all of whom were diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis and classified as overweight or obese.

They were divided into two groups: one received a diet and exercise intervention and the other served as an attention control group. The procedure lasted 18 months.

Key findings

Pain reduction: The adjusted mean knee pain (as measured by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) was lower in the diet and exercise group than in the control group at the 18-month follow-up (5.0 vs. 5.5, respectively).

weight loss: Participants in the diet and exercise group lost an average of 7.7 kg (8% body weight), while the control group lost 1.7 kg (2% body weight).

waist size: There was a significant 9 cm reduction in waist circumference in the diet and exercise group, which may provide additional health benefits.

Secondary results: Of the seven secondary endpoints measured, five showed significant improvements in the intervention group compared to the control group.

Security: There were 169 serious adverse events reported, but none were definitely related to the study.

The study highlights the importance of lifestyle changes in treating knee osteoarthritis, particularly in people who are overweight or obese.

The combination of diet and exercise not only relieves knee pain, but also contributes to significant weight loss and a reduction in waist circumference, which can have additional positive effects on overall health.


For older adults struggling with knee osteoarthritis and weight issues, implementing a structured nutrition and exercise program can lead to significant improvements in pain and function.

This study provides compelling evidence for the role of non-pharmacological interventions in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis and highlights the potential for improved quality of life through lifestyle changes.

If you are concerned about pain, please read studies about how to treat your back pain Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people.

For more information on pain, check out recent studies on how to live pain-free with arthritis. The results show that Native American plants can help relieve diarrhea and pain.

The research results can be found in JAMA.

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