Maintaining a healthy body weight could increase the likelihood of achieving remission for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a recent study finds. The study, presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, found that overweight and obese people had 50% to 60% reduced odds of RA remission, while underweight people had 45% reduced odds of remission.
The study followed nearly 1,000 people who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a young age for three years. The inflammation associated with obesity is thought to play a role in the reduced odds of remission; however, it is less clear what causes the reduced odds for underweight people.
Dr. Susan Goodman, the study’s lead author and a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, added that medication for rheumatoid arthritis is not as effective in overweight people. She highlighted the important role that exercise plays in the treatment of RA and says she often counsels her patients to begin a low-impact exercise regimen soon after starting medication.
The study should be considered preliminary until it has been published in a peer-review journal. Goodman hopes to continue studying the link between body weight and RA remission.
For more on the study, click here.