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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 1996 May-Jun;14(3):289-93.

Weight reduction in obese patients with rheumatoid arthritis, with preservation of body cell mass and improvement of physical fitness.

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Department of Medicine TA, Section of Rheumatology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To reduce body weight in obese patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) without loss of body cell mass (BCM) and without impairment of physical performance.


Nineteen overweight RA patients were studied before, during, and after a 12-week weight reducing regime consisting of reduced dietary energy intake, supplemented with a high-protein-low-energy powder preparation, and moderate physical training. Body composition was measured by a four compartment method, which by combining determinations of total body water and total body potassium allows a distinction between the two variable components of fat free mass (FFM): BCM and extracellular water (ECW). Physical fitness was measured by a bicycle exercise test.


Mean weight loss during the study was 4.5 kg. The patients lost 9% of their initial fat mass, 3% of initial BCM and 5% of initial ECW. Physical fitness was slightly, but significantly, improved.


The regime described was successful in achieving a significant weight loss with minimal loss of BCM and maintenance of physical fitness.

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