Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

Sedentarity Is an Independent Cardiovascular Risk Factor in Rheumatologic Patients.

Antivalle1,  Marco, Imperio2,  Cecilia, Battellino2,  Michele, Mutti2,  Alessandra, Ditto2,  Maria Chiara, Batticciotto2,  Alberto, Atzeni2,  Fabiola

Rheumatology Unit, L. Sacco University Hospital Milano, MIlano, Italy
Rheumatology Unit, L. Sacco University Hospital Milano, Italy


There is ample demonstration that physical inactivity is a strong cardiovascular (CV) risk factor in the general population. While several reports suggest that patients with RA and other chronic rheumatic diseases have a reduced level of physical activity (PA) compared with the general population, few studies have evaluated physical activity and the risk of CVD in patients with rheumatic diseases (1).

Aim of the study:

To study the relationship between low PA and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients affected by rheumatic diseases.


PA and CV risk factors were studied in 282 patients with rheumatic diseases (216 Females and 66 Males, mean age 53.5 years). 71.4% of patients had inflammatory diseases. The level of PA was assessed by the IPAQ questionnaire, which allows the estimate of total weekly energy expenditure in MET-minute/week, and the categorization of patients into 3 levels of activity - Low (< 600 MET/m/w), Moderate (< 3000 MET/m/w), and High (=> 3000 MET/m/w)-. Metabolic syndrome (Mets) was assessed by the International Diabetes Federation definition (3).


Average PA energy expenditure was 1654 MET-m/w. Overall, a low level of PA was recorded in 47.3%, MetS in 22.6 %, and smoking in 26.1% of patients. Only 21.8% of patient reported walking at least 30 minutes/5 days/week according to cardiovascular prevention recommendations (4). More than 1 risk factor was present in 24.1% of patients. The distribution of risk factors was different in the 2 sexes, females showing a higher prevalence of LPA and males a higher prevalence of MetS. By logistic regression, MetS prevalence was significantly correlated only to sex (p=0.014) and age (p=0.003), but not to the level of PA (Fig. 1), to the type of rheumatic disease (inflammatory vs non inflammatory), nor to disease duration.

Fig. 1. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome and cigarette smoking according to levels of physical activity.


Sedentarity is very prevalent in rheumatic diseases, and in only 21% of patients weekly exercise meets levels recommended for CV prevention. Low levels of physical activity in this population seem to be unrelated to other cardiovascular risk factors. Preventive strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk in this population should include programs to improve physical fitness.


1)TuressonMatteson, CEL Cardiovascular risk factors, fitness and physical activity in rheumatic diseases.Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2007 19 190–6.

2)Graig, CL, et al. International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 35 1381–1395.

3)IDF Consensus Worldwide Definition of the Metabolic Syndrome. Available online at

4)Haskell, WL, et al. Physical Activity and Public Health: Updated Recommendation for Adults From the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation 2007 116 1081–1093.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Antivalle, Marco, Imperio, Cecilia, Battellino, Michele, Mutti, Alessandra, Ditto, Maria Chiara, Batticciotto, Alberto, et al; Sedentarity Is an Independent Cardiovascular Risk Factor in Rheumatologic Patients. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :784
DOI: 10.1002/art.28552

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