We hypothesized that women with early- and mid-adult life obesity, as well as high mid-adult life waist-to-hip ratios, and high weight gain during adulthood, experience a greater incidence of gout.
We examined the incidence of gout in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, a population-based biracial cohort comprised of individuals aged 45–65 years of age at baseline (1987–1989). A total of 6,263 women without prior history of gout were identified. We examined the association of BMI and obesity at cohort entry and at age 25 years, waist-to-hip ratio and weight change, with gout incidence (1996–1998).
Over 9 years of follow-up, 103 women developed gout. The cumulative incidence of gout, by age 70 years, according to BMI category at baseline of <25, 25–29.9, 30–34.9, and ≥ 35 kg/m2, was 1.9, 3.6, 7.9, and 11.8%, respectively (P <0.001). Obese women (BMI≥30) at baseline had an adjusted 2.4-fold greater risk of developing gout than non-obese women (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.53, 3.68). This association was attenuated after further adjustment for urate levels. Further, early adult obesity in women was associated with a 2.8-fold increased risk of gout compared to non-obese women (95% CI 1.33, 6.09), which remained statistically significant after baseline urate adjustment. There was a graded association between each anthropometric measure, including weight gain, with incident gout (each P for trend <0.001). The results were similar in black and white women.
In a large cohort of African American and Caucasian women, obesity in early and mid-adulthood, and weight gain during this interval, were each independent risk factors for incident gout in women.