The research team led by Flavia Cicuttini of the Monash University, Melbourne, Australia has found that increased waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) were associated with the risk of both knee and hip joint replacement.
During the study, the team examined 32,023 healthy volunteers and looked at the relationship between different adiposity measures and the risk of subsequent primary knee and hip joint replacement.
They found a 3 to 4-fold increased risk of primary joint replacement associated with body weight, BMI, fat mass and percentage fat.
Waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were also associated with an increased risk, suggesting that both biomechanical and metabolic mechanisms associated with adiposity contribute to the risk of joint replacement.
The group also showed that fat mass and percentage fat were associated with an increased risk of primary knee and hip joint replacement even 10 to 15 years after their measurement.
''Adipose mass contributes to increased joint loading, which may increase the risk of OA progression and subsequent joint replacement for severe end-stage OA,'' said Cicuttini.
''The obesity epidemic occurring in developed countries is likely to have a significant impact on the future demands for knee and hip replacements for OA and understanding the mechanism of action will be important in effective prevention of OA,'' she added.
The study is published in BioMed Central's open access journal, Arthritis Research and Therapy.