Trajectories of body mass index from early adulthood to late midlife and incidence of total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis: findings from a prospective cohort study

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Objective: To examine the association between body mass index (BMI) trajectories from early adulthood to late midlife and risk of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for osteoarthritis. Methods: 24,368 participants from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study with weight collected during 1990–1994, 1995–1998, and 2003–2007, recalled weight at age 18–21 years, and height measured during 1990–1994 were included. Incident TKA from 2003 to 2007 to December 2018 was determined by linking cohort records to the National Joint Replacement Registry. Results: Using group-based trajectory modelling, six distinct trajectories (TR) of BMI from early adulthood (age 18–21 years) to late midlife (approximately 62 years) were identified: lower normal to normal BMI (TR1; 19.7% population), normal BMI to borderline overweight (TR2; 36.7%), normal BMI to overweight (TR3; 26.8%), overweight to borderline obese (TR4; 3.5%), normal BMI to class 1 obesity (TR5; 10.1%), overweight to class 2 obesity (TR6; 3.2%). Over 12.4 years, 1,328 (5.4%) had TKA. The hazard ratios for TKA increased in all TR compared to TR1 [from TR2: 2.03 (95% CI 1.64–2.52) to TR6: 8.59 (6.44–11.46)]. 28.4% of TKA could be prevented if individuals followed the trajectory one lower, an average weight reduction of 8–12 kg from early adulthood to late midlife, saving $AUS 373 million/year. Most reduction would occur in TR2 (population attributable fraction 37.9%, 95% CI 26.7–47.3%) and TR3 (26.8%, 20.0–31.2%). Conclusions: Prevention of weight gain from young adulthood to late midlife in order to reduce overweight/obesity has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and burden of TKA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • BMI trajectory
  • Health system savings
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Total knee arthroplasty
  • Weight maintenance

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