Osteoarthritis

Misconceptions undermine weight loss in OA


Many overweight people with osteoarthritis struggle to lose weight because of mistaken beliefs around weight management, Monash researchers say.

The survey of 102 people with knee OA found that obese and overweight participants were more likely to want to lose weight than normal weight individuals yet were more likely to gain weight over six months.

The study published in the Internal Medicine Journal also found that overweight and obese people were more likely to think that changing their diet was less important than physical activity.

According to rheumatologist and lead author Associate Professor Anita Wluka from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University educating patients on this point was really critical.

“Obese and overweight participants thought they couldn’t avoid gaining weight if they couldn’t be active,” she told the limbic.

“If they don’t believe diet will make much difference they aren’t going to put that much effort into it” Professor Wluka said.

Refocusing attention to the role of diet as an important modifiable factor that can result in weight loss might improve weight management strategies and go some way to improving clinical outcomes, the research team suggests.

Another misconception uncovered by the research team was that almost 40 percent of the overweight and obese participants believed that genetic and metabolic factors were to blame for their weight gain.

“It indicates that they felt they had a lack of control… before they even started trying to lose weight, they hit a road block,” Professor Wluka said.

“Patients need to know that exercising is something they need to do because it’s good for their general health and muscles around their knees, which is good for OA,” she said.

“But if they can’t exercise it doesn’t mean they can’t lose weight or maintain their current weight…And once they’ve lost a bit of weight they will probably find that it’s easier to exercise,” she added.

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