University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

  • Elena Nikiphorou
  • Sam Norton
  • Keith Young
  • Josh Dixey
  • David Walsh
  • Henrietta Helliwell
  • Patrick Kiely
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)1194-1202
Journal publication date1 Jul 2018
Early online date26 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


To examine associations between BMI and disease activity, functional ability and quality of life in RA.

Data from two consecutive, similarly designed UK multicentre RA inception cohorts were used: the Early RA Study (ERAS) and the Early RA Network (ERAN). Recruitment figures/median follow-up for the ERAS and ERAN were 1465/10 years (maximum 25 years), and 1236/6 years (maximum 10 years), respectively. Standard demographic and clinical variables were recorded at baseline and annually. Multilevel piecewise longitudinal models with a change point at 2 years were used with the 28-joint DAS (DAS28), ESR, HAQ and 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) components as dependent variables. BMI was examined in separate models as both continuous and categorical variables (based on World Health Organization definitions) and up to 5 years from disease onset.

BMI data from 2386 newly diagnosed RA patients (11 348 measures) showed an increase in BMI of 0.27 U annually (95% CI 0.21, 0.33). Baseline obesity was associated with a significant reduction in the odds of achieving a low year 2 DAS28 [OR 0.52 (95% CI 0.41, 0.650)]. At year 2, HAQ and SF-36 PCS scores were significantly worse but not at year 5 in patients obese at baseline. Obesity at year 2 was associated with higher DAS28 scores at year 2, but not at year 5, and also associated with significantly higher HAQ and SF-36 PCS scores at years 2 and 5.

Obesity prevalence is rising in early RA and associates with worse disease activity, function and health-related quality of life, with a significant negative impact on achieving a low DAS28. The data argue strongly for obesity management to become central to treatment strategies in RA.


© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved.

ID: 16569884