Nutritional Considerations in Joint Health

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Kristine L. Clark, PhD, RD

Pennsylvania State University, Room 256, Recreation Hall, University Park, PA 16802, USA

Osteoarthritis, a debilitating joint disorder, is the most common form of arthritis in the United States [1], where it affects an estimated 21 million people. In 2004, the direct and indirect health care costs associated with all forms of arthritis were approximately $86 billion [2]. Joint discomfort from osteoarthritis and other joint disorders may reduce physical activity in individuals experiencing this condition, resulting in energy imbalance and weight gain. Increased weight can exacerbate existing problems, as additional stress on joints stimulates risk of additional joint disorders. Dietitians play a role in preventing or reversing the problem of joint disorders by promoting nutrient-rich diets that support joint health through improvement in cartilage metabolism. In addition, counseling individuals on weight management and active lifestyles are key strategies for the management of joint health.

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