(HealthDay News) – Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 10–14 in Washington, DC.
Bing Lu, MD, DrPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between overweight and obesity and the risk of RA using data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHSII.
The researchers found that 1,292 incident cases of RA developed (903 in NHS and 389 in NHSII). Compared with women with a body mass index <25kg/m², overweight and obese women had a significantly increased risk of RA, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.19 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03–1.38) for overweight and 1.18 (95% CI, 0.98–1.42) for obesity (P trend =0.029) in NHS. In NHSII, the HRs were significantly increased for both overweight and obesity (HRs, 1.78 and 1.73, respectively; P trend <0.001). The effect of overweight and obesity on RA risk was stronger in seronegative RA than in seropositive RA. For seronegative RA, the risks for overweight and obese were significantly increased (HR, 1.30 and 1.34, respectively), while for seropositive, the HRs were 1.12 (95% CI, 0.92–1.36) and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.84–1.38), respectively.
“This study examining the potential role of obesity and overweight in [the] development of RA may furnish novel information about the etiology of RA, and have large potential public health implications,” Lu said in a statement.