Obesity Increases Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Women

by Hope Gillette ,  VO XXI | 2012-11-16

According to a new study presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, women who are overweight or obese have an 18 to 19 percent increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

“Controlling your weight not only prevents diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, but it can also prevent RA,” study researcher Bing Lu, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told Arthritis Today. “Previous studies have had inconsistent results, but we were able to confirm that obesity increases RA risk based on two large studies, with a much better study design and a very large sample size.”

Rheumatoid arthritis and obesity study

For the research, reported by Arthritis Today, Lu’s team pulled data from two previous studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), and the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). Collectively, more than 200,000 nurses in the studies were evaluated, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated.

In the final results, both the overweight group and the obese group demonstrated an 18 to 19 percent increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis when compared to the women in the normal weight group.

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