Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 457–460 | Cite as

High rates of obesity and greater associated disability among people with rheumatoid arthritis in Canada

  • Inés ColmegnaEmail author
  • Carol A. Hitchon
  • María Celia Bazán Bardales
  • Lekha Puri
  • Susan J. Bartlett
Brief Report


Obesity in rheumatoid arthritis has been associated with increased risk of comorbidities, larger medical costs, decreased quality of life, higher disease activity, and reduced therapeutic responses. We assessed the burden of obesity among rheumatoid arthritis patients and its impact on patient-reported outcomes. Patients receiving care at two Canadian University Centers were included. Height and weight were measured and selected sociodemographic and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) characteristics as well as patient-reported outcomes were obtained. Patients were classified according to WHO criteria and proposed RA cut points, and results were compared with national data. Using WHO criteria, 68 (34 %) RA patients were classified as obese (vs. ~25 % of Canadians). Using RA cut points, 112 (55 %) RA patients were classified as obese. With both classification methods, obese individuals had significantly higher mean HAQ scores and a higher odds of significant disability (HAQ ≥ 1: WHO OR 2.3; 95 % CI 1.2, 4.2 and RA-specific OR 1.8; 95 % CI 1.0, 3.2). Independent of the classification method use, RA patients have significantly higher rates of obesity than national prevalence estimates. Obese RA patients had about twice the odds of reporting moderate to severe disability.


Cardiovascular disease risk Disability Obesity Rheumatoid arthritis 



Approximately 10 % of patients are also enrolled in the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort (CATCH). CATCH study was designed and implemented by the investigators and financially supported initially by Amgen Canada Inc. and Pfizer Canada Inc. via an unrestricted research grant since the inception of CATCH. As of 2011, further support was provided by Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd., UCB Canada Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co., AbbVie Corporation (formerly Abbott Laboratories Ltd.), and Janssen Biotech Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc.).

Compliance with ethical standards




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inés Colmegna
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Carol A. Hitchon
    • 3
  • María Celia Bazán Bardales
    • 1
  • Lekha Puri
    • 1
  • Susan J. Bartlett
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Department of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Division of Rheumatology, Department of MedicineUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Royal Victoria HospitalResearch Institute of the McGill University Health CentreMontréalCanada

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