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Impact of Weight on Joint Health

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Weight can play an important role on joint health. NEBH Orthopedic Surgeon Vivek Shah, MD, explains that when a person is even slightly overweight, it can add stress to their joints, especially their weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Every pound of weight gained puts an extra 3-5 pounds of pressure on knee joints. Losing weight can diminish pain and restore function in joints, especially when paired with exercise and a healthy diet.

Physicians often recommend that patients lose weight prior to undergoing surgery. Being at an optimal weight at the time of surgery has shown to reduce surgical complications and help patients return to work and the activities they enjoy more quickly. For patients with diabetes, it helps improve blood sugar control before and after surgery.

Because weight plays such an important role in joint health, and in honor of National Nutrition Month, NEBH Dietitian Kristen Vicidomino, MS, RD, LDN offers 5 tips to get you on track to healthier eating habits.

5 Tips for Eating Healthy

  1. Set yourself up for success - Start slow and make changes over time. Aim for weight loss of 1-2 lbs. per week by cutting 250-500 calories per day.
  2. Change your eating habits - Try eating six small meals per day and before you get too hungry, about every 3-4 hours.
  3. Emphasize fruits and vegetables - Mix different vegetables and fruits into your meals making a colorful plate. 50% of each meal should be fruits and/or vegetables.
  4. Stay Hydrated - Drink more water, naturally flavored water, or fat free and low-fat milk. This will keep you full for longer, as people often mistake thirst for hunger.
  5. Control portion size - Use a smaller plate made up of 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% lean protein, and 25% whole grains. Everyone has different nutritional needs based on age, height, gender, and activity level. Meet with a Registered Dietitian to determine your unique nutritional needs.
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