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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2008 Oct 2;9:132. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-9-132.

Obesity and osteoarthritis in knee, hip and/or hand: an epidemiological study in the general population with 10 years follow-up.

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National resource centre for rehabilitation in rheumatology, Dept. of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, POBox 23 Vinderen, 0319 Oslo, Norway.



Obesity is one of the most important risk factors for osteoarthritis (OA) in knee(s). However, the relationship between obesity and OA in hand(s) and hip(s) remains controversial and needs further investigation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of obesity on incident osteoarthritis (OA) in hip, knee, and hand in a general population followed in 10 years.


A total of 1854 people aged 24-76 years in 1994 participated in a Norwegian study on musculoskeletal pain in both 1994 and 2004. Participants with OA or rheumatoid arthritis in 1994 and those above 74 years in 1994 were excluded, leaving n = 1675 for the analyses. The main outcome measure was OA diagnosis at follow-up based on self-report. Obesity was defined by a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above.


At 10-years follow-up the incidence rates were 5.8% (CI 4.3-7.3) for hip OA, 7.3% (CI 5.7-9.0) for knee OA, and 5.6% (CI 4.2-7.1) for hand OA. When adjusting for age, gender, work status and leisure time activities, a high BMI (> 30) was significantly associated with knee OA (OR 2.81; 95%CI 1.32-5.96), and a dose-response relationship was found for this association. Obesity was also significantly associated with hand OA (OR 2.59; 1.08-6.19), but not with hip OA (OR 1.11; 0.41-2.97). There was no statistically significant interaction effect between BMI and gender, age or any of the other confounding variables.


A high BMI was significantly associated with knee OA and hand OA, but not with hip OA.

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