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Uric acid, weight and diet in the elderly


Clinical bottom line

In elderly Dutch men and women aged 65-79 years, higher serum uric acid was associated with higher body weight and BMI. Dietary associations were different for men and women.


MJA Henriëtte et al. Serum uric acid correlates in elderly men and women with special reference to body composition and dietary intake (Dutch nutritional surveillance system. J Clin Epidemiol 1990 43: 1297-1303.


This was a survey of 460 apparently health Dutch people aged between 65 and 79 years conducted in 1984/5. The sample was randomly chosen, was Caucasian, and was independently living. Exclusions were people with diabetes, or those with diseases that would probably end life in the near future.

Home visits were used to collect information on lifestyle, demographic variables and food consumption in the previous two weeks, and to collect blood and urine samples. Multivariate regression was used to determine associations between demographic or dietary variables and serum uric acid concentrations.


Of the 237 men and 223 women, about 30% were on dietary restrictions, mainly prescribed. This included salt and cholesterol or fat restriction.

The single largest influence on serum uric acid was the increase seen with use of diuretic drugs.

Increased body weight and BMI was associated with increased uric acid.


This interesting paper was specifically aimed at older people, in whom gout is more common. Clearly the well known effect of diuretics to increase uric acid predominated. The next largest effect was weight, with an average 7 kg difference between lowest and highest tertiles of serum uric acid for men, and 5 kg for women. For most dietary associations, though statistically significant, the absolute difference in consumption between high and low tertiles was small.