..Among our sample of adults who were 40‐69 years old at their midlife weight measure (n=13,669), 3,603 developed an arthritis condition. Compared with adults who maintained a normal‐normal BMI, the normal‐overweight, normal‐obese, overweight‐obese, and obese‐obese groups had significantly elevated risk of incident arthritis conditions.
The obese‐overweight group had lower risk of incident arthritis conditions compared with the obese‐obese group and comparable risk to the overweight‐overweight group. Nearly one quarter of incident arthritis cases, corresponding to 2.7 million individuals, would have been averted under the hypothetical scenario where all individuals maintained normal weight from young adulthood to midlife.
Weight loss from young adulthood to midlife was associated with substantially reduced risk of developing an arthritis condition. We found no evidence of residual risk from having been heavier earlier in life. Our findings highlight the critical need to expand obesity treatment and prevention to achieve meaningful reductions in the burden of arthritis