Arthritis is the leading cause of disability and activity limitations among U.S. adults. Arthritis comprises more than 100 different diseases that affect areas in or around the joints.1 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 2008–2010, 22.0 percent of adults in the United States reported that they had ever been diagnosed with arthritis; representing nearly 52 million adults (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Arthritis was more common among women than men (24.9 versus 18.8 percent, respectively). The proportion of adults with arthritis increases dramatically with age for both sexes. Only 5.3 percent of women aged 18–34 years had ever been diagnosed with arthritis, compared to 15.6 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds, 34.2 percent of those aged 45–64 years, and 56.4 percent of women aged 65 years and older. Similarly, only 3.5 percent of men aged 18–34 years had ever been diagnosed with arthritis, compared to 44.1 percent of those aged 65 years and older.
Among women, arthritis prevalence varied significantly by race and ethnicity. More than one-quarter of non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic White, and women of multiple races reported having been diagnosed with arthritis (26.9, 26.7, 26.2, and 31.4 percent, respectively), compared to 13.3 percent of non-Hispanic Asian women and 19.6 percent of Hispanic women (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).
Obesity has been associated with the onset and progression of osteoarthritis.1 In 2008– 2010, nearly one-third of obese adults and one-fifth of overweight adults had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared to 17.4 percent of adults who were neither overweight nor obese. Among women, having been diagnosed with arthritis was reported by 33.6 percent of obese women, compared to 19.3 percent of women who were neither overweight nor obese.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis. August 2012. Accessed 09/19/12.
2 Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis in Women. 2011. Accessed 09/19/12.
|Age Group||Percent of Adults|
|*Reported a health professional has ever told them they have arthritis; total estimates are age-adjusted. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey with multiply imputed poverty data, 2008-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.|
|65 Years and Older||56.4||44.1|
|Sex||Percent of Adults|
|Adults with Arthritis, Neither Overweight nor Obese||Adults with Arthritis, Overweight||Adults with Arthritis, Obese|
|*Reported a health professional has ever told them they have arthritis; estimates are age-adjusted.
**Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height. Neither overweight nor obese is defined as having a BMI of less than 25.0; overweight is defined as having a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9; and obese is defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or more. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey with multiply imputed poverty data, 2008-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.