Association between physical exercise, body mass index, and risk of fibromyalgia: Longitudinal data from the Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study
Article first published online: 29 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis Care & Research
Volume 62, Issue 5, pages 611–617, May 2010
How to Cite
Mork, P. J., Vasseljen, O. and Nilsen, T. I. L. (2010), Association between physical exercise, body mass index, and risk of fibromyalgia: Longitudinal data from the Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study. Arthritis Care Res, 62: 611–617. doi: 10.1002/acr.20118
- Issue published online: 29 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 29 JAN 2010
- Accepted manuscript online: 29 JAN 2010 12:00AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 JAN 2010
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUL 2009
To examine the association between leisure time physical exercise, body mass index (BMI), and risk of fibromyalgia (FM).
A longitudinal study with baseline assessment of physical exercise (frequency, duration, and intensity) and BMI was used to explore the risk of having FM at 11-year followup in a large, unselected female population (n = 15,990) without FM or physical impairments at baseline.
At followup, 380 cases of incident FM were reported. A weak dose-response association was found between level of physical exercise and risk of FM (for trend, P = 0.13) where women who reported the highest exercise level had a relative risk (RR) of 0.77 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.55–1.07). BMI was an independent risk factor for FM (for trend, P < 0.001), and overweight or obese women (BMI ≥25.0 kg/m2) had a 60–70% higher risk compared with women with normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2). Overweight or obese women who exercised ≥1 hour per week had an RR of 1.72 (95% CI 1.07–2.76) compared with normal-weight women with a similar activity level, whereas the risk was >2-fold higher for overweight or obese women who were either inactive (RR 2.09, 95% CI 1.36–3.21) or exercised <1 hour per week (RR 2.19, 95% CI 1.39–3.46).
Being overweight or obese was associated with an increased risk of FM, especially among women who also reported low levels of physical exercise. Community-based measures aimed at reducing the incidence of FM should emphasize the importance of regular exercise and the maintenance of normal body weight.