According to a study, losing even a moderate amount of weight could help cut down the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knees.
Data from an ongoing study by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, revealed people who are overweight and shed just 5 percent of their weight were less likely to develop knee OA, a common joint disease affecting middle-aged and older people, compared to people who gain weight.
Lead researcher Lauren Abbate, also a medical student at UNC, along with her team based their research on data from the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, a leading study of arthritis.
She said: "We hear a lot of messages about how obesity affects cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but arthritis is often overlooked.
"OA is painful and debilitating. Effective treatments are limited and there's not a cure. But if we can get people to lose weight we may reduce their risk and reduce the pain and disability associated with this condition."
She added: "It was our hope that people who maintained weight would have reduced risk, but obesity is such a strong risk factor for OA, that maintaining weight showed no significant benefit."
The knee OA paper was presented at the American College of Rheumatology scientific meeting in Philadelphia.