Research: More weight loss is better.

Research DefinitionResearch Definition

More weight loss is better in patients with knee arthritis.  

Osteoarthritis or arthritis

I have always been taught that better is the enemy of the good.  In other words, more is not always better.  One of the biggest obstacles to good health is patient that believe if one is good, then more is better.  That is not always the case, and this is epically true with medications and supplements.  One glass of red wine, for example, is good for you heart, so you would expect that ten would tend times a good for your heart.  Not only is ten glasses likely bad for your heart; it is also terrible for your liver.  More is not always better, but could more exercise be better for us.

A recent study looked at their topic by examining the dose effects and dose-response effect of weight loss on clinical and mechanistic outcomes in overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis[1].  This research performed was a secondary analysis between diet‐induced weight loss only and diet‐induced weight loss plus exercise groups in a randomized controlled clinical trial that looked at diet and exercise in patients with arthritis. The subjects of the study included  240 participants that were overweight and obese older community‐dwelling adults with pain and radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis). The subjects or participants of the study were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups according to weight loss achieved over the 18‐month trial.  The groups were: <5% group, 5-10% group, 10–20% group, and >20% group.

The researchers found that there was a significant dose-response to weight loss for pain, function, walking distance, and quality of life.  What this means is that greater weight loss resulted in superior clinical and mechanistic outcomes in the highest weight loss group (>20% group).  This result indicates that people who exercise more should have a higher quality of life and this should correlate with less disease and disability overall.  

The bottom line:  Long‐term weight loss of 10%–20% of baseline body weight has substantial clinical and mechanistic benefits compared with less weight loss.  I would recommend that anyone who is beginning to experience arthritic symptoms develop a weight loss and exercise plan to help reduce the symptoms as we age.  Use this result to motivate you to lose more to get closer to your ideal weight.  


  1. [1]
    S. P. Messier et al., “Intentional Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: Is More Better?,” A, vol. 70, no. 11, pp. 1569–1575, Oct. 2018 [Online]. Available: 10.1002/acr.23608″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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