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High BMI can reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis in men

66A new study has claimed that men with high BMI (Body Mass Index) have a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

In the study, scientists in Sweden analysed data from 383 patients, taken from two population based health surveys with a total of 50,705 participants, to discover that there was a strong association between a high BMI in men and a lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. However, this association was not found in women.

After the results had been adjusted for smoking as that has been found to be negatively associated with obesity in men, men with a BMI over 25kg/m2 were estimated to be 63 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

The scientists suggested that a high BMI more often reflects increased abdominal obesity or visceral fat in men compared with women, which could be protective against the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Lead author Carl Turesson said that the effect of obesity on the risk of rheumatoid arthritis did not appear to be substantially different from that of overweight.

The study is published in the Journal Rheumatology.