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Obesity, knee osteoarthritis, and polypathology: factors favoring weight loss in older people

Authors Isla Pera P, Olivé Ferrer MC, Nunez Juarez M, Nuñez Juarez E, Maciá Soler L, López Matheu C, Rigol Cuadra A, Honrubia Pérez M, Marre D

Received 10 July 2015

Accepted for publication 19 January 2016

Published 27 May 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 957—965


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Pilar Isla Pera,1 Ma Carmen Olivé Ferrér,1 Montserrat Nuñez Juarez,2 Esther Nuñez Juarez,3 Loreto Maciá Soler,4 Carmen López Matheu,1 Assumpta Rigol Cuadra,1 María Honrubia Pérez,1 Diana Marre5

1School of Nursing, University of Barcelona, 2Department of Rheumatology, Musculoskeletal Clínic Institute Hospital Clínic, 3Institut Català de la Salut, Barcelona, 4Nursing Department, University of Alicante, Alicante, 5Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

We aimed to explore the meaning of obesity in elderly persons with knee osteoarthritis (KO) and to determine the factors that encourage or discourage weight loss.
Background: Various studies have demonstrated that body mass index is related to KO and that weight loss improves symptoms and functional capacity. However, dietary habits are difficult to modify and most education programs are ineffective.
Design: A phenomenological qualitative study was conducted. Intentional sampling was performed in ten older persons with KO who had lost weight and improved their health-related quality of life after participating in a health education program. A thematic content analysis was conducted following the stages proposed by Miles and Huberman.
Findings: Participants understood obesity as a risk factor for health problems and stigma. They believed that the cause of obesity was multifactorial and criticized health professionals for labeling them as “obese” and for assigning a moral value to slimness and diet. The factors identified as contributing to the effectiveness of the program were a tolerant attitude among health professionals, group education that encouraged motivation, quantitative dietary recommendations, and a meaningful learning model based on social learning theories.
Conclusion: Dietary self-management without prohibitions helped participants to make changes in the quantity and timing of some food intake and to lose weight without sacrificing some foods that were deeply rooted in their culture and preferences. Dietary education programs should focus on health-related quality of life and include scientific knowledge but should also consider affective factors and the problems perceived as priorities by patients.

Keywords: obesity, elderly, polypathology, therapeutic education, diet, nursing, knee osteoarthritis

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