Kristian Stengaard-Pedersen

Body fat percentage, waist circumference and obesity as risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis: A Danish cohort study

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  • Asta Linauskas
  • Kim Overvad
  • Deborah Symmons, ARC Epidemiology Unit, University of Manchester, Stopford BuildingOxford Road, M13 9PT, Manchester, United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland., United Kingdom
  • Martin Berg Johansen, Aalborg AF Study Group, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark; Unit of Clinical Biostatistics, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Kristian Stengaard-Pedersen
  • Annette de Thurah

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relationship between bioimpedance-derived total body fat percentage, waist circumference (WC) and Body Mass Index (BMI) and the subsequent development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS: A population-based prospective cohort study among 55,037 persons enrolled into the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort. Baseline data included anthropometric measures and lifestyle factors. Persons who developed RA were identified through linkage with the Danish National Patient Registry. The relationships between bioimpedance-derived body fat percentage, WC, BMI and incident RA were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression models, stratifying by gender. All analyses were performed for overall RA and the serological subtypes: 'seropositive RA' and 'other RA'.

RESULTS: A total of 210 men (37.6% seropositive RA) and 456 women (41.0% seropositive RA) developed RA during a median follow-up of 20.1 years. In women, overall RA risk was 10% higher for each 5% increment of total body fat (Hazard Ratio (HR) 1.10; 95% CI 1.02-1.18), 5% higher for each 5cm increment of WC (HR 1.05; 95% CI 1.01-1.10) and nearly 50% higher in those with an obese compared to normal BMI (HR 1.46; 95% CI 1.12-1.90). These positive associations were also found for 'other RA'. In men, there were no clear associations between body fat percentage, WC, or BMI and RA. No significant associations were found for 'seropositive RA' in women or men, possibly related to low sample size.

CONCLUSIONS: In women, higher body fat percentage, higher waist circumference and obesity were associated with higher risk of RA. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArthritis Care & Research
Pages (from-to)777-786
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • parenting programme, newborn behavioral observation, early intervention, universal intervention, health visitors, family relationship, community setting

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