HealthDay News — Increased body mass index may have a moderate effect on hand arthritis, according to a meta-analysis published recently in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Liying Jiang, from Nantong University in China, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of all articles that quantitatively assessed the strength of associations between body mass index and the risk of hand osteoarthritis. Twenty-one studies were included: 13 cross-sectional, three case-control, and five cohort. 

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The researchers found that the pooled summary estimates were 1.10 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 1.24), with the difference nonsignificant (P=0.09). In cross-sectional studies, body mass index was positively associated with hand osteoarthritis (1.05; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.08); no significant difference was seen in case-control studies (1.28; 95% CI, 0.87 to 1.88) or cohort studies (1.06; 95% CI, 0.71 to 1.58). There was a weak but significant effect on the risk of radiographic hand osteoarthritis, with summary estimates of 1.06 (95% CI, 1.02 to 1.10) in studies defined by radiography and 1.25 (95% CI, 1.06 to 1.49) in studies defined radiographically and clinically.

“It appears that increased body mass index contributes to a positively moderate effect on susceptibility to hand osteoarthritis, as defined radiographically and/or radiographically and clinically,” the authors write.

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