Clinical Edge

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Long-Term Physical Activity & Risk for RA in Women

In a prospective cohort study, higher levels of physical activity in women were associated with reduced rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk. The primary analysis investigated long-term cumulative average of recreational physical activity 2-8 years prior to RA diagnosis. Researchers found:

  • Among 113,366 women, there were 506 incident RA cases (67.0% seropositive) during 2,428,737 person-years of follow-up.
  • Increasing cumulative average total hours of recreational physical activity was associated withy reduced RA risk. After adjusting for confounders.
  • The proportion of the effect between physical activity and RA mediated by updated body mass index was 14.0% for all RA and 20,0% for seropositive RA.


Liu X, Tedeschi SK, Lu B, et al. Long-term physical activity and subsequent risk for rheumatoid arthritis among women: A prospective cohort study. [Published online ahead of print March 28, 2019]. Arthritis Rheumatol. doi:10.1002/art.40899.