If you choose to include managing your weight as part of your care plan, you will be given options that will support your needs. Working with your clinician team will make sure your priorities, goals, values, and preferences are part of your plan to manage your weight.

Home 9 Individual Standards: Toolkit Introduction 9 6. Core Treatment 3 Managing Weight


  • A higher body weight and extra body fat has been linked to developing osteoarthritis and to how quickly it progresses11Godziuk K, Kania-Richmond A, Hart D. Obesity: Implications for patients with osteoarthritis. for  2 reasons:​
    • There’s more stress on the lower limb joints with higher body weights
    • There’s a relationship between the body’s internal response and how slow or quickly the OA progresses
  • Staying at your weight or not gaining more weight is a Core Treatment to manage OA. It’s especially important because everyone tends to both gain weight and become less active as they get older​
  • For people that are obese and have OA, reducing weight can help the OA symptoms (pain and ability to do everyday things). Studies show that losing 5-10% of body weight can reduce the force and stress on joints to improve symptoms
  • When you use nutrition, activity, and behavioural change strategies to lose weight, you lose about 3–5% of body weight, which still could help improve symptoms​
  • If managing your weight is one of your goals ask your clinician for support in making choices for your care plan
  • Strategies should focus on improving your overall health, osteoarthritis symptoms, and being more active than losing weight

Talking About Managing Weight

Understanding your health priorities, goals, values, and preferences is the starting point for talking to your clinician about managing your weight when you have osteoarthritis. This includes your clinician asking you for permission to talk about your body weight, weight history, the behaviour management strategies you’ve tried before or are trying now, and your interest in other strategies or supports. Weight management isn’t right for everyone.

There are many strategies to support manging your weight when you have osteoarthritis that are based on your needs. You can work with your clinician to create a plan that meets your goals, values, and preferences. This may include7,87Kahan S. Overweight and obesity management strategies. The American Journal of Managed Care. 2016;22(7):S186-S96
8Obesity Canada. Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) Edmonton, Alberta: Obesity Canada; 2020 [Available from:

  • Using weight management services that support your lifestyle change (See Health Resources and the Treatment Menu for examples)
  • Coordinating your exercise and physical activity care plans so that they work together (Standard 5)
  • Asking to be referred to supports for mental health, which may help with issues like managing sleep, stress, and chronic pain
  • Asking to be referred to other clinicians that can support you
  • Asking to be referred to clinicians that specialize in people that are obese

Managing your weight means working with your clinician team. It can take time to create a plan that’s right for you.

For your safety, please speak with your clinician team before you make any big lifestyle changes. Your team will work with you to develop strategies to help you cope with stress and plan for life changes or events that might come up while you’re working on your goals.


Referral Between Clinicians


OA Self Management Toolkit