For participants on the diet, the goal was to lose at least 10 percent of their starting weight. People replaced some meals with shakes and attended regular weight monitoring and nutrition sessions. The exercise program involved one hour of physical activity three times per week, including aerobic walking and strength training. By the end of the study, people assigned to both diet and exercise had lost an average of 23 pounds. That compared to almost 20 pounds in the diet-only group and four pounds among those who only exercised. Compared to people in the exercise-only group, those who combined diet and exercise had less knee inflammation and pain and better functioning at 18 months. For example, pain scores measured on a scale of 0 to 20, with higher scores indicating more pain, fell by 3.1 points in the diet plus exercise group and by 1.4 points in the exercise-alone group and about the same in the diet-alone group. Likewise, on a 0-to-68 scale measuring knee function, people in the combined diet and exercise group improved by an average of 10.5 points, versus 4.7 points among those who only exercised. People in the diet-alone and the diet plus exercise groups had about the same levels of knee inflammation – both lower than in the exercise-alone group. “No one expects diet and exercise to have a huge impact” on osteoarthritis, Dr. Amanda Nelson, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center, said.
However, this is not the case as the longest lived are those in the overweight but not obese group. This particularly applies to anyone over 75 where the greater your weight the longer the life expectancy.