01 Aug Obesity Increases Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Lu: In two large cohorts of women, we observed that being obese increased the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women by 40–70% depending on age and serologic status. The highest risk for rheumatoid arthritis was among women who were overweight or obese at age 18 years, emphasizing the public health importance of combating the obesity epidemic at all ages. Our study implicates being overweight or obese throughout adult life as a risk factor in the development of seropositive and seronegative RA for women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 55 years or younger. The attenuated association between BMI and rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed at older ages may reflect differences in the pathophysiology of RA diagnosed at earlier ages compared with that diagnosed at older ages, or may be a result of the limitations of BMI as a measure of total fat mass as women age.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Lu: We found being overweight or obese throughout adult life as a risk factor in the development of seropositive and seronegative RA for women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 55 years or younger.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Lu: Weight control through diet and physical activity may help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Lu: To investigate the mechanism of this finding.