Diet quality of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis using the healthy eating index (HEI)-2010

Lauren Thomas Berube, Mary Kiely, Yusuf Yazici, Kathleen Woolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) afflicts approximately 1.5 million American adults and is a major cause of disability. As disease severity worsens, individuals with RA may experience functional decline that can impact dietary intake. Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the diet quality of individuals with RA using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2010 and examine associations between diet quality and disease activity and functional status. Methods: This cross-sectional study assessed diet quality and disease activity and functional status in adults with RA. Participants completed seven-day weighed food records, which were scored using the HEI-2010. Participants had a fasting blood draw and completed the Multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire to determine disease activity and functional status. Results: The mean age of individuals with RA (N = 84) was 53 ± 14 years, and 86.9% were female. The mean HEI-2010 total score was 58.7 ± 15.9, with 7.1% of participants scoring “good”, 58.3% “fair”, and 34.5% “poor”. Most participants did not adhere to recommended intakes of total fruit, total vegetables, whole grains, fatty acids, refined grains, sodium, and empty calories. An unadjusted multiple linear regression model found duration of morning stiffness and C-reactive protein concentration to be significant variables to inversely predict HEI-2010 total score. Conclusions: The diet quality of many individuals with RA needs improvement and may be related to functional disability associated with RA. Healthcare providers should encourage individuals with RA to meet dietary guidelines and maintain a healthy diet. Moreover, healthcare providers should be aware of the potential impacts of functional disability on diet quality in individuals with RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Diet quality
  • Disease activity
  • Functional status
  • Healthy Eating Index
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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