News Release

Healthy lifestyle and mortality in osteoarthritis

A prospective cohort study of the UK Biobank

Peer-Reviewed Publication

European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR)

In this work, data from the UK Biobank were used to investigate the association of both individual and combined healthy lifestyle factors with the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality among 104,142 people with osteoarthritis.

The researchers gave each person a score for their lifestyle, based on their body mass index (BMI) and self-reported diet, sleep duration, physical activity, sedentary time, social connection, smoking, and alcohol drinking – all factors thought to be associated with health.

Overall, there were 9,915 deaths recorded after the first 2 years’ follow-up. Models showed a variety of associations between people’s lifestyle and mortality. Sleep duration had a U-shaped relationship, whilst moderate physical activity was L-shaped, and BMI and vigorous activity were J-shaped – a trend that starts with a sharp drop and is followed by a dramatic rise.

For sleep, the ideal seems to be 7 hours a night, whilst the turning point for moderate physical activity was 550 minutes per week, and 240 minutes per week for vigorous physical activity. The J-shaped turning point for BMI was 28 kg/m2.

In multivariable models, each lifestyle factor was significantly associated with all-cause mortality, as well as mortality associated with cancer, cardiovascular, digestive, and respiratory diseases.

This study could be important in helping to identify a healthy lifestyle pattern that could significantly reduce the risk of mortality in people with osteoarthritis. Indeed, EULAR has recently published recommendations on lifestyle behaviours and work participation to prevent progression of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, including osteoarthritis.1 The overarching principles define the importance of a healthy lifestyle, how lifestyle modifications should be implemented, and their role in relation to medical treatments.1 It seems now this could possibly benefit mortality as well as disease outcomes.


Fan T, et al. Association of Healthy Lifestyles with All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality Among Individuals with Osteoarthritis: A Prospective Cohort Study of the UK Biobank. Presented at EULAR 2023; Abstract OP0144.


1. Gwinnutt JM, et al. 2021 EULAR recommendations regarding lifestyle behaviours and work participation to prevent progression of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Ann Rheum Dis 2023;82:48–56


EULAR is the European umbrella organisation representing scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). EULAR aims to reduce the impact of RMDs on individuals and society, as well as improve RMD treatments, prevention, and rehabilitation. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in rheumatology education and research, promotes the translation of research advances into daily care, and advocates for the recognition of the needs of those living with RMDs by EU institutions.

EULAR Communications,

Notes to Editors
EULAR Recommendations
EULAR School of Rheumatology
EULAR Press Releases


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