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Arthritis

Narrative

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability and activity limitations among United States adults.1 Arthritis comprises more than 100 different diseases that affect areas in or around the joints.2 The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and loss of movement due to deterioration in the cartilage covering the ends of bones in the joints. Types of arthritis that primarily affect women include lupus arthritis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is the most serious and disabling type of arthritis.2

In 2007–2009, 22.2 percent of adults in the United States reported that they had ever been diagnosed with arthritis; this represents more than 49 million adults among whom 21 million had an arthritis-attributable activity limitation.1 Arthritis was more common among women than men (25.9 versus 18.3 percent, respectively). The proportion of adults with arthritis increases dramatically with age for both sexes. Fewer than 9 percent of women aged 18–44 years had ever been diagnosed with arthritis, compared to 52.1 percent of women aged 65–74 years, and 58.9 percent of women aged 75 years and older. Similarly, only 6.2 percent of men aged 18–44 had ever been diagnosed with arthritis compared to 40.5 percent of those aged 65–74 and 46.1 percent of those aged 75 and older.

Obesity has been associated with the onset and progression of osteoarthritis.1 Between 2007–2009, nearly one-third of obese adults and one-quarter of overweight adults had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared to 16.4 percent of normal/underweight adults. Arthritis was more common among obese women (34.8 percent) than obese men (24.6 percent) and among overweight women (27.2 percent) than overweight men (18.4 percent). Nearly one-fifth (18.9 percent) of normal/underweight women had been diagnosed with arthritis compared to 12.7 percent of normal/underweight men.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NHIS Arthritis Surveillance. 2010. Accessed 06/07/11.
2 Arthritis Foundation.External Web Site Policy Arthritis in Women. 2011. Accessed 06/07/11.

Graphs

Data

Adults Aged 18 and Older Engaging in Adequate* Physical Activity by Age and Sex, 2007–2009
Age Group Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Reported a health professional has ever told them they have arthritis.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
18-44 Years 8.9 6.2
45-64 Years 33.8 25.5
65-74 Years 52.1 40.5
75 Years and Older 58.9 46.1
Total 25.9 18.3
Past Year Major Depressive Episode* and Substance Use Disorder** Among Adults Aged 18 and Older, by Sex, 2009
Body Mass Index Category Percent of Adults
Female Male Total
*Reported a health professional has ever told them they have arthritis.
**Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height.
†Includes underweight.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2009. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center.
Normal Weight (BMI less than 25.0)† 18.9 12.7 16.4
Overweight (BMI = 25.0-29.9) 27.2 18.4 22.1
Obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30.0) 34.8 24.6 30.1

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