Talking about Weight Loss to Patients Who Have Arthritis and Are Overweight or Have Obesity
Weight loss eases arthritis pain and improves the quality of life of adults living with arthritis. More than 54 million US adults have arthritis, and 38.9 million of them are overweight or have obesity.
CDC recommends that healthcare providers counsel their patients with arthritis to lose weight if they are overweight or have obesity. Research suggests that patients who receive weight counseling from a physician are almost 4 times more likely to attempt weight loss than those not receiving counseling. Adults with arthritis can decrease pain and improve function by being in a healthy weight range. Weight loss is a proven non-drug way to ease arthritis pain and severe joint pain.
A study released in the May 4th edition of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that the percentage of healthcare providers who gave weight loss counseling to their adult patients with arthritis increased from approximately 35% in 2002 to 45.5% in 2014. Still, over half of adults who have arthritis and are overweight or have obesity are not receiving healthcare provider counseling to lose weight.
Healthcare providers are encouraged to talk to their patients about physical activity as an option to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
Healthcare Providers: Improving Your Arthritis Patients' Health
- Counsel for achieving or maintaining a healthy weight—Research confirms that maintaining a healthy weight can limit disease progression and activity limitation.
- Counsel for low-impact physical activities—Walking, biking, swimming, and water activities are all good non-drug ways to ease arthritis pain and are safe for most adults.
- Urge 150 minutes of physical activity per week—Adults benefit from at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. They can break it up into smaller chunks of time throughout the day.
- Promote physical activity classes— Proven, arthritis-friendly community-based classes are available at local YMCAs, parks, and recreation or community centers.
- Suggest self-management education—Locally available, proven self-management education workshops are available to teach people with arthritis and other chronic conditions how to control their symptoms and better adhere to clinical guidance.