Body fat and waist size linked to increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women

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obese, overweight, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis digest magazineWomen who are overweight or obese in terms of body mass index (BMI), abdominal obesity or a high body fat percentage are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, says research presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology. But the same was not found to be true in men.

Previous work investigating the association between being overweight and the development of rheumatoid arthritis has been conflicting about the link.

“One possible explanation for these inconsistencies is that while BMI has been the preferred surrogate measure for being overweight in these studies, BMI only correlates modestly with total amount of body fat and does not accurately reflect fat distribution,” said lead author Dr Asta Linauskas

“Our results support an association between the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and three different criteria for being overweight or obese in women. We believe rheumatoid arthritis should be included in the list of all the other medical conditions linked to obesity. It would certainly make sense for women with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis to try to avoid becoming overweight.”

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