Body mass index, obesity, and prevalent gout in the United States in 1988-1994 and 2007-2010

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2013 Jan;65(1):127-32. doi: 10.1002/acr.21791.


Objective: To determine the association and prevalence of gout among overweight, obese, and morbidly obese segments of the US population.

Methods: Among participants (age ≥20 years) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 1988-1994 and 2007-2010, gout status was ascertained by self-report of a physician diagnosis. Body mass index (BMI) was examined in categories of <18.5 kg/m(2) , 18.5-24.9 kg/m(2) , 25-29.9 kg/m(2) , 30-34.9 kg/m(2) , and ≥35 kg/m(2) and as a continuous variable. The cross-sectional association of BMI category with gout status was adjusted for demographic and obesity-related medical disorders.

Results: In the US, the crude prevalence of gout was 1-2% among participants with a normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m(2) ), 3% among overweight participants, 4-5% with class I obesity, and 5-7% with class II or class III obesity. The adjusted prevalence ratio comparing the highest to a normal BMI category was 2.46 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.44-4.21) in 1988-1994 and 2.21 (95% CI 1.50-3.26) in 2007-2010. Notably, there was a progressively greater prevalence ratio of gout associated with successively higher categories of BMI. In both survey periods, for an average American adult standing 1.76 meters (5 feet 9 inches), a 1-unit higher BMI, corresponding to 3.1 kg (~6.8 pounds) greater weight, was associated with a 5% greater prevalence of gout, even after adjusting for serum uric acid (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Health care providers should be aware of the elevated burden of gout among both overweight and obese adults, applicable to both women and men, and observed among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic African Americans, and Mexican Americans in the US.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Gout / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult