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Weight Loss May Slow Knee Cartilage Degeneration

Osteoarthritis Cartilage; ePub 2019 Feb 27; Gersing, et al

Weight loss may slow knee cartilage degeneration over 96 months and these potential benefits may differ by method of weight loss, according to a recent study. Researchers studied right knees of 760 participants with a baseline BMI >25kg/m2 from the Osteoarthritis Initiative with mild to moderate or with risk factors for knee osteoarthritis (OA). Participants losing weight (>5% of baseline BMI over 72 months; n=380) were compared to controls with stable weight (SW, n=380). Participants losing weight were categorized based on weight loss method (diet and exercise, diet only, exercise only) and compared to those with stable weight. MRI at 3T was performed at baseline, 48- and 96-months. Researchers found:

  • Compared to SW, weight loss was associated with a significantly slower increase in global (averaged over all compartments) cartilage T2 (adjusted mean difference of change in T2 months/year between the groups: 0.24 [0.20, 0.41] months/year and global deep layer cartilage T2 0.35 [0.20, 0.42] months/year), suggesting slower cartilage deterioration.
  • Compared to the SW group, slower increases in global T2 were observed in the diet and diet and exercise groups, but not in the exercise only group.

Gersing AS, Schwaiger BJ, Nevitt MC, et al. Weight loss regimen in obese and overweight individuals is associated with reduced cartilage degeneration: 96-month data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. [Published online ahead of print February 27, 2019]. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2019.01.018.