Are overweight and obese adults with arthritis being advised to lose weight?

Kevin R. Fontaine, Steffany Haaz, Susan J. Bartlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Obesity is a risk factor for the development and progression of arthritis. Weight loss can provide symptomatic benefit for adults with arthritis. OBJECTIVE: To describe the proportion and characteristics of adults with self-reported diagnosed arthritis who report ever having been advised by a doctor or health professional that losing weight might benefit their arthritis or joint symptoms and to assess whether receiving the advice was associated with trying to lose weight. METHODS: Using population-based survey data from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), we classified respondents according to their arthritis status, gender, ethnicity, age, education, body mass index, activity limitations due to joint symptoms, whether or not they received advice to lose weight from a doctor or health professionals, and whether they report trying to lose weight. RESULTS: Less than half (45.7%) of overweight or obese respondents with arthritis reported ever being advised by a doctor or health professional that losing weight might help their arthritis or joint symptoms. Respondents who were more likely to have received the advice were female, older, obese, with higher levels of education, and reported activity limitations due to joint symptoms. Overweight and obese respondents who reported receiving advice to lose weight were significantly more likely to report trying to lose weight than those who did not receive advice (odds ratio [OR] = 3.75; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 3.39-4.15). CONCLUSIONS: Receiving advice was associated with a greater likelihood of trying to lose weight. Health care professionals should advise overweight and obese adults with arthritis about the potential benefits of weight loss and should provide the resources to assist these patients in losing weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-15
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007



  • Behavioral risk factor
  • Obesity
  • Surveillance survey
  • Weight loss advice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology

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