skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Body Mass Index, Weight Loss, and Cause-Specific Mortality in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

England BR, Baker JF, Sayles H, Michaud K, Caplan L, Davis LA, Cannon GW, Sauer BC, Solow EB, Reimold AM, Kerr GS, Mikuls TR. Body Mass Index, Weight Loss, and Cause-Specific Mortality in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis care & research. 2018 Jan 1; 70(1):11-18.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: To examine associations of body mass index (BMI) and weight loss with cause-specific mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: A cohort of US veterans with RA was followed until death or through 2013. BMI was categorized as underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. Weight loss was calculated as the 1) annualized rate of change over the preceding 13 months, and 2) cumulative percent. Vital status and cause of death were obtained from the National Death Index. Multivariable competing-risks regression models were utilized to assess the time-varying associations of BMI and weight loss with cause-specific mortality. RESULTS: Among 1,600 participants and 5,789 patient-years of followup, 303 deaths occurred (95 cardiovascular, 74 cancer, and 46 respiratory). The highest weight-loss rate and weight-loss percent were associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular mortality (rate: subdistribution hazard ratio [sHR] 2.27 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.61-3.19]; percent: sHR 2.31 [95% CI 1.06-5.01]) and cancer mortality (rate: sHR 2.36 [95% CI 1.11-5.01]; percent: sHR 1.90 [95% CI 1.00-3.62]). Overweight BMI was protective of cardiovascular mortality (sHR 0.59 [95% CI 0.38-0.91]), while underweight BMI was associated with a near 3-fold increased risk of respiratory mortality (sHR 2.93 [95% CI 1.28-6.67]). Incorporation of time-varying BMI and weight loss in the same models did not substantially alter individual associations for cardiovascular and cancer mortality, but an association between weight-loss percentage and respiratory mortality was attenuated after BMI adjustment. CONCLUSION: Both BMI and weight loss are predictors of cause-specific mortality in RA. Weight loss is a strong predictor of cardiovascular and cancer mortality, while underweight BMI is a stronger predictor of respiratory mortality.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.