Background A growing body of evidence has emerged suggesting that prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) is a risk factor for poor health and independently associated with both all cause– and cardiovascular mortality. It is furthermore established that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with pain, fatigue, poor sleep and substantial physical disability. Clinical studies document that physical activity interventions and potentially reduction of prolonged SB may alleviate some of these problems. However, the prevalence and determinants for SB in RA patients is not well investigated.
Objectives To investigate the prevalence of self-reported SB and its association to pain, fatigue, poor sleep and physical disability.
Methods A total of 500 RA patients from a rheumatology outpatient clinic were recruited consecutively. Data included self-reported physical activity and SB assessed by the Physical Activity Scale. Other instruments and outcomes included were the Health Assessment Questionnaire, Visual Analogue Scale for pain and fatigue, the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Associations were studied with logistic regression analysis categorising patients into three groups: (1) low (Low-SB) (0.5-3 hour per day), (2) moderate (Moderate-SB) (>3-5 hour per day) and (3) high (High-SB) (>5-16 hour per day) SB.
Results The response rate was 89%. Participants’ mean age was 60 years (range 22 to 88 years). The mean duration of SB was 4.4 hour (SD 2.7) per day. There was no significant association between SB and sex (p=0.37). Furthermore, diabetes was found to be significantly more prevalent for patients in the High-SB group in comparison to Low-SB (14% vs. 1% p<0.0001). After adjusting for age, sex, pain, fatigue, HAQ-score, sleep and disease activity, SB was not found to be associated with pain, MFI subscales general fatigue, mental fatigue, reduced activity, reduced motivation, poor sleep and physical disability. The adjusted analyses showed that high age was associated with more SB, OR 1.05 [95% CI 1.03 – 1.07] for Moderate-SB vs. Low-SB and OR 1.07 [95% CI 1.05 – 1.10] for High-SB vs. Low-SB. The only disease-specific variable associated with SB was MFI subscale physical fatigue OR 1.07 [95% CI 1.01 – 1.14] for Moderate-SB vs. Low-SB and OR 1.22 [95% CI 1.13 – 1.32] for High-SB vs. Low-SB.
Conclusions SB is prevalent in RA patients. However, the study findings suggest that SB is not associated with pain, general fatigue, mental fatigue, reduced activity, reduced motivation, sleep and physical disability. Further research is needed to properly promote reduced SB in RA patients.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared