People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing hand, hip, and knee osteoarthritis, according to a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Those who are obese are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than are people who are only overweight, with the risk of osteoarthritis increasing with increasing BMI.

The study, led by Carlen Reyes, MD, PhD, of the GREMPAL Research Group in Barcelona, Spain, used primary care records from the SIDIAP database, including more than 5.5 million subjects. They included 1,764,061 participants who were 40 years of age and older, had BMI data available, and had not been diagnosed with osteoarthritis on or before January 1, 2006. Participants were followed up from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2010.

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Among normal-weight participants, the incidence rates of osteoarthritis (per 1,000 person-years) were 3.7 for knee, 1.7 for hip, and 2.6 for hand. Among participants with grade II obesity, the incidence rates were 19.5 for knee, 3.8 for hip, and 4.0 for hand.

Participants who were overweight or obese had a particularly increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis: overweight participants had a 2-fold risk, participants with grade I obesity had a 3.1-fold risk, and participants with grade II obesity had a 4.7-fold risk, compared with normal-weight participants.


  1. Reyes C, Leyland KM, Peat G, et al. Association between overweight and obesity and risk of clinically diagnosed knee, hip, and hand osteoarthritis: A population-based cohort study. Arthritis Rheumatol. Published online ahead of print on April 5, 2016. doi:10.1002/art.39707.