Aging and osteoarthritis are associated with high risk of muscle mass loss, which leads to physical disability; this loss can be effectively alleviated by diet (DI) and exercise (ET) interventions. This study investigated the relative effects of different types of diet, exercise, and combined treatment (DI + ET) on muscle mass and functional outcomes in individuals with obesity and lower-limb osteoarthritis. A comprehensive search of online databases was performed to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the efficacy of DI, ET, and DI + ET in patients with obesity and lower-extremity osteoarthritis. The included RCTs were analyzed through network meta-analysis and risk-of-bias assessment. We finally included 34 RCTs with a median (range/total) Physiotherapy Evidence Database score of 6.5 (4–8/10). DI plus resistance ET, resistance ET alone, and aerobic ET alone were ranked as the most effective treatments for increasing muscle mass (standard mean difference (SMD) = 1.40), muscle strength (SMD = 1.93), and walking speed (SMD = 0.46). Our findings suggest that DI+ET is beneficial overall for muscle mass in overweight or obese adults with lower-limb osteoarthritis, especially those who are undergoing weight management.
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