Sedentary behaviour is associated with increased long-term cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis independently of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Mar 29;18(1):131. doi: 10.1186/s12891-017-1473-9.


Background: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The physical dysfunction symptomatic of RA means people living with this disease spend large periods of the day sedentary, which may further elevate their risk of CVD. The primary aim of this study was to investigate relationships between objectively assessed sedentary behaviour patterns and light physical activity (LPA) with 10-year risk of CVD. Secondary aims were to explore the role of sedentary behaviour patterns and LPA for individual CVD risk factors and functional disability in RA. The extent to which associations were independent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) engagement was also examined.

Methods: Baseline data from a subsample of participants recruited to the Physical Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis (PARA) study were used to answer current research questions. Sixty-one patients with RA (mean age (± SD) = 54.92 ± 12.39 years) provided a fasted blood sample and underwent physical assessments to evaluate factors associated with their cardiovascular health. Sedentary behaviour patterns (sedentary time, sedentary bouts, sedentary breaks), LPA and MVPA were measured via 7-days of accelerometry. Ten-year CVD risk was computed (Q-risk-score2), and functional disability determined via questionnaire.

Results: Regressions revealed significant positive associations between sedentary time and the number of sedentary bouts per day ≥20 min with 10-year CVD risk, with the reverse true for LPA participation. Associations were independent of MVPA engagement.

Conclusions: Promoting LPA participation and restricting sedentary bouts to <20 min may attenuate long-term CVD risk in RA, independent of MVPA engagement.

Trial registration: ISRCTN04121489 (retrospectively registered 19/10/2012).

Keywords: Accelerometry; Cardiovascular risk; Inflammation; Physical Function; Physical activity; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Sedentary behaviour.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / trends
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time Factors

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN04121489