Weightbearing Joints Carry The Burden
Being overweight, even just moderately, impacts weightbearing joints and can increase the pain of arthritis.
Research has shown that during walking the hips, knees, and ankles bear three to five times a person's total body weight. For every pound a person is overweight, three to five pounds of extra weight is added to each knee during walking. In contrast, a ten pound weight loss causes 30 to 50 pounds of extra stress to be relieved from the joints.
For a person with arthritis, extra pounds burden the joints and lead to increased inflammation and pain.
Osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis, is more common among overweight people. Studies have indicated that losing extra weight lowers the risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee. Losing weight can help slow the progression of arthritis too.
Change In Weight Loss Guidelines
Traditional height and weight charts are no longer used per the National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated guidelines for the definition and treatment of overweight and obesity. The assessment of overweight considers:
- body mass index (BMI)
- waist circumference
- risk factors for diseases
- conditions related to obesity
The BMI equals a person's weight in pounds divided by their height in inches squared, multiplied by 704.5. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 27.3 percent or more for women and 27.8 or more for men. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. A BMI of 30 is approximately equivalent to 30 pounds overweight.
Tips For Successful Weight Loss
When considering weight loss strategy and diet one must be reasonable and realistic. Fad diets and quick weight loss schemes are not only unrealistic but can be unhealthy, unbalanced, and deplete the body of essential nutrients. An estimated 95% of dieters losing weight on quick weight loss diets gain back the weight within a year. The formula is simple, to lose weight a person must burn off calories by either:
- decreasing food intake
- increasing energy output through regular exercise
Moderate physical activity on most or all days of the week is recommended. Besides its contribution to weight loss, exercise:
- strengthens joints and bones
- lowers blood pressure
- improves the cardiovascular system
Walking a mile burns about 100 calories. Gardening for 30 to 45 minutes, raking leaves for 30 minutes and certain other ordinary activities burn up about 150 calories.
Eat Regular Balanced Meals
It is recommended that a person eat three healthy, balanced meals and avoid unhealthy between meal snacks. It is also recommended that a person decrease dietary fat and be mindful of nutritional needs such as:
- vitamins D, B12, and E
Cutting caloric intake by 500 calories a day every day will lead to a loss of a pound a week. A reasonable time frame for a 10 percent reduction in body weight is 6 months of treatment, with a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Tips For Healthy Eating
Tips for healthy eating include:
Balance Key To Successful Weight Loss
The key to successful weight loss is to find a balance between exercise and healthy diet which can contribute to calorie reduction, but at a reasonable, undramatic pace so that the weight loss will be maintained through the new healthy lifestyle.
Related Resources - Weight Loss / Exercise
Sources: The ABC's Of Weight Control, arthritisconnection.com; Overweight and Obesity Guidelines Update, MedicineNet.com; Better Health Is Just Ten Pounds Away, Reader's Digest, October 1997