Modifiable Factors and Incident Gout Across Ethnicity Within a Large Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults

J Rheumatol. 2022 May;49(5):504-512. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.210394. Epub 2022 Feb 1.


Objective: Gout disproportionately affects older Pacific Islander and Black populations relative to White populations. However, the ethnic-specific determinants remain understudied within these groups, as well as within other ethnicities. We examined gout incidence and associations with behavioral factors, including diet, alcohol, and smoking, within a large multiethnic population of older adults from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, which linked prospective cohort data to Medicare gout claims between 1999-2016.

Methods: Using samples of Black (n = 12,370), Native Hawaiian (n = 6459), Japanese (n = 29,830), Latino (n = 17,538), and White (n = 26,067) participants, we conducted multiple Cox regressions, producing hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.

Results: Relative to White individuals, Native Hawaiians had the highest risk of gout (HR 2.21, 95% CI 2.06-2.38), followed successively by Black and Japanese participants, whereas Latino individuals had a lower risk of gout (HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.73-0.83). Alcohol use was associated with an increased risk, with significantly greater effects observed among Japanese participants drinking ≥ 3 drinks per day (HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.27-1.66), or > 5 beers per week (HR 1.29, 95% CI 1.17-1.43), compared to White individuals (Pinteraction < 0.001). Former smokers with ≥ 20 pack-years had an increased risk (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.06-1.22). Higher dietary quality was associated with a decreased gout risk, with the largest effect observed among White participants (HRQ5vsQ1 0.84, 95% CI 0.79-0.90), whereas vitamin C was weakly associated with a decreased risk of gout only among Japanese individuals (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.85-0.98).

Conclusion: Overall, notable ethnic differences were observed in both gout risk and associations with modifiable behavioral factors. Our findings offer crucial insights that may improve precision in preventing and managing gout.

Keywords: ethnic groups; gout; lifestyle factors; proportional hazards models.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Gout* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Medicare
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology