A research that has been carried out by University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark involving women between the age of 50 and 64 years to study about the complications arising out of obesity. Obesity is also linked to a greater risk of arthritis among women. The study looked at 54,284 subjects (52% female). Obesity is a medical condition in which the excess body fat accumulates to such an extent that it has a negative effect on the health of the individual. Over time, the strain that extra weight places on the body can result in problems like joint pain and arthritis. Eventually, wear and tear on the joints can become so significant that hips and knees may need to be replaced.
The team collected measurements on the participants’ body fat composition and information on lifestyle factors at the beginning of the study. During the study, which ran between 1993 and 1997, 283 women and 110 men developed Rheumatoid Arthritis during a median follow-up period of 21 years.
After considering influencing factors such as age, smoking status, total tobacco consumption, smoking duration, alcohol consumption, socio-economic status, physical activity and total intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the team found that obesity was linked to an increased risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but only in women. In men, there was no clear association. Previous studies, which have also looked at a link between weight and RA risk, have produced conflicting findings.
“One possible explanation for these inconsistencies is that while BMI is 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,” explained lead author Dr. Asta Linauskas.
“Our results support an association between the risk of developing RA and three different criteria for being overweight or obese in women. We believe RA 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 RA to try to avoid becoming overweight” Dr. Asta Linauskas concluded.