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Knee Pain Injured Sore

Weight Loss Through Exercise Alone May Not Benefit Knee Cartilage

Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, which is common in the knee joint. Osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, so it is important to slow down the degeneration of cartilage. A recent study suggests that obese people who lose a lot of weight may significantly slow the degeneration of knee cartilage, but only if they lose weight through diet and exercise or diet alone.


Participants in the study included 760 men and women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25. All of the participants had mild to moderate osteoarthritis or risk factors for osteoarthritis. Half of the group lost weight during the 96 months study period, while the other half did not and acted as the control. The weight loss group was split into three groups: diet and exercise, diet alone, and exercise alone. The researchers used MRI to measure knee osteoarthritis at the beginning of the study, at 48 months, and at 96 months.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted significantly lower cartilage degeneration in the weight loss group, when compared with the control group. However, the results were only present in the participants who lost weight through diet and exercise or diet alone. The exercise alone group lost as much weight as the other groups, but there was no significant decrease in cartilage degeneration, when compared with the control group.


Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, conducted the study. It was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North American on November 28, 2017.


Obesity has a far ranging negative effect on health.  Each year, obesity causes approximately 300,000 premature deaths in the United States.  The negative health effects associated with obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea.


Improving eating habits and increasing physical activity play a vital role in preventing obesity.  It is recommended that we eat five to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  It also recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day.

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