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Physical Activity Reduces Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk in Women

Researchers found data that showed that metabolic factors play a role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, and that in women, weight loss interventions and exercise could possibly prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

Among women, higher levels of physical activity may be associated with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to results published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The study included participants from the Nurses’ Health Study II (1989-2015). The researchers collected information on physical activity exposures and covariates, using biennial questionnaires. For participants who self-reported RA on the questionnaire and screened positive on a supplemental survey, medical records were reviewed by 2 independent rheumatologists to confirm the diagnosis.

The primary outcome was whether long-term cumulative average recreational physical activity 2 to 8 years before RA diagnosis could reduce the potential for reverse causation bias. The researchers calculated Cox regression estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for RA serologic phenotypes (all, seropositive, seronegative) by physical activity category. They adjusted for body mass index (BMI) at age 18 years, as well as time-varying potential confounders.

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