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AB0118 Physical Activity and Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Women
  1. D. Di Giuseppe1,
  2. M. Bottai1,
  3. J. Askling2,
  4. A. Wolk1
  1. 1Institute of Environmental Medicine
  2. 2Dept. of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden


Background Only one study has evaluated the association between exercise and risk of developing RA, showing no association [1].

Objectives To examine the association between physical activity and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in middle age and elderly women from the Swedish Mammography Cohort, a population-based prospective study [2].

Methods Data on physical activity were collected in 1997 by self-administrated food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Risk of RA associated with physical activity was estimated using Cox proportional hazard regression models.

Results Among 30,112 women born between 1914 and 1948 followed-up from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2010, 201 RA cases were identified (226,477 person-years). There was a statistically significant 35% lower risk of RA (relative risk (RR), 0.65; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.43-0.96) among women in the highest category of leisure-time activity (combining more than 20 minute per day of walking/bicycling (median 40-60 minute per day) and more than 1 hour per week of exercise (median 2-3 hours per week)) as compared to women in the lowest category (less than 20 minute per day of walking/bicycling and less than 1 hour per week of exercise). A non-statistically significant decreased risk was observed for household work (-32%) and work/occupation (-15%), while an increased risk was observed for leisure-time physical inactivity (+27%). Daily energy expenditure was not associated with risk of RA.

Conclusions This prospective population-based cohort study of women supports the hypothesis that physical activity can be a protective factor in the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis. Our results add to accumulated evidence on benefits of modifiable leisure-time physical activity for prevention of many other chronic diseases.


  1. Cerhan JR, Saag KG, Criswell LA, Merlino LA, Mikuls TR: Blood transfusion, alcohol use, and anthropometric risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis in older women. J Rheumatol 29(2), 246-254 (2002).

  2. Harris H, Håkansson N, Olofsson C, Julin B, Åkesson A, Wolk A. The Swedish mammography cohort and the cohort of Swedish men: Study design and characteristics of 2 population-based longitudinal cohorts. OA Epidemiology 2013 Oct 01;1(2):16.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

DOI 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-eular.1737

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