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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Jet J C S Veldhuijzen van Zanten
  • George D Kitas
  • Peter C Rouse
  • Chen-An Yu
  • George S Metsios

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Institute of Sport, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, Gorway Road, Walsall, WS1 3BD, UK
  • University of Birmingham


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).


Original languageEnglish
Article number131
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2017


  • Sedentary behaviour, Physical activity, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Accelerometry, Cardiovascular risk, Inflammation