Weight And Arthritis

Updated, 2023

Learn how you can lessen joint pain and other health risks by managing weight. 

Most people know that maintaining a healthy weight is important for their overall health and wellbeing. Despite this, over 63% of Australian adults are overweight or obese, making it the second highest contributor to the burden of disease.

It is important to keep in mind that losing weight is not a race – whether you need to lose 10, 20 or 50kg – and the benefits of a healthy weight, healthy diet and being physically active go far beyond how you look in the mirror. It’s a lifelong commitment to a healthier you – for yourself and your family.

As always, consult your health care team before beginning any weight loss program. The Queensland Government's Happier. Healthier resource has some great tips on how to live a more active and healthy life, click here to check out the website


Reduces pressure on your joints:  

  • For people who are carrying extra weight, losing weight can help to reduce the severity and pain associated with arthritis, and also helps to avoid or delay the need for costly and traumatic surgeries.
  • A 2014 study conducted by Australia’s National Preventative Health Agency reported that obesity increases the risk of arthritis and back pain. There are many reasons why this is the case.
  • One of the more common reasons is that the more additional weight we carry, the more pressure we place on our joints. It is estimated for every kilo of excess weight we carry, an extra load of 4kgs is put on our knee joints. This not only increases the risk of developing arthritis, it may also increase the pain and swelling associated with the conditions.

Lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke:

  • Australia’s National Vascular Alliance reports that every hour, five Australians die from heart, stroke and blood vessel disease. Obesity is a risk factor for all these conditions.
  • Research also shows that people with some form of arthritis are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, making the need to manage weight all the more critical.
  • Studies have shown that, if overweight, losing weight can lower your blood pressure into a healthy range. In addition, eating right and engaging in physical activity that leads to weight loss can lower your cholesterol.


Weight loss can be tough, but achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, along with eating healthily and participating in regular movement or physical activity can put us on the right track to reducing some of the symptoms of arthritis. 

Everyone's ideal weight is different, so talk to your health care team about what an ideal weight is for you and how they can help you take small steps to managing weight for better overall physical and mental health.

Adapted from Benefits of Weight Loss by Teresa T. Gentry - http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/losing-weight/weight-joint-pain.php

Additional references