There is no definitive evidence to suggest that obesity is associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis — but there is some conflicting evidence. One study suggests a link between obesity and the development of rheumatoid arthritis in seronegative patients and younger women. A recent meta-analysis of 11 studies suggests a significant association between obesity and the development of rheumatoid arthritis in general.
In terms of the effects of obesity on patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, the evidence is stronger. Associations have been identified between obesity and disease activity and poor treatment response. On the other hand, at least one study points to a decreased risk of joint damage and lower mortality for obese rheumatoid arthritis patients.
In this slideshow, we highlight a research review published in the January issue of Current Rheumatology Reports by Michael D. George, M.D., and Joshua F. Baker, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. The authors examine the influence of obesity on disease measurement, treatment response and long-term prognosis.
Michael D. George and Joshua F. Baker. "Obesity Epidemic and Consequences for Rheumatoid Arthritis Care," Current Rheumatology Reports. January 2016. DOI:10.1007/s11926-015-0550-z.”