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05-01-2022 | Rheumatology | News | Article

News in brief

Study highlights the need to avoid ‘pandemic of inactivity’ in RA patients

Author: Claire Barnard

medwireNews: People in the UK with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) did less physical activity than those without during the first COVID-19 lockdown, researchers report.

In their questionnaire study, Antonios Stavropoulos‑Kalinoglou (Leeds Beckett University, UK) and colleagues found that 59% of 27 patients with RA reported a reduction in habitual physical activity in April–June 2020 relative to their pre-pandemic levels. By comparison, 33% of 101 respondents without RA reported a reduction in physical activity, a significant difference.

Similarly, people with RA spent significantly less time doing physical activity than their counterparts without RA during the lockdown period, at a median of 1160 versus 2940 metabolic equivalent minutes per week. The researchers say that “[a]ccess to exercise equipment and facilities appears to be the main cause for these results,” with 37% of RA patients and 33% of controls citing this as the biggest barrier to physical activity.

Stavropoulos‑Kalinoglou and team also report that a numerically higher proportion of people with versus without RA reported weight gain during the study period (59 vs 35%), but the between-group difference did not reach statistical significance.

Writing in Rheumatology International, they conclude that “[l]ooking beyond COVID-19, specific [physical activity] promotion for people with RA will be required to prevent a pandemic of inactivity.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2022 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

5 January 2022: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Rheumatol Int 2021; doi:10.1007/s00296-021-05054-4

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