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50 Million US Adults Have Arthritis

50 million US adults have arthritis and 21 million are limited in activity; 1 in 3 obese adults have arthritis.

Chart: Adults with Arthris by Body Mass Index (BMI), United States 2007-2009.A new study from CDC reports that 50 million US adults had arthritis in 2007-2009, an increase from 2003-2005 (46 million). This new estimate is in line to match future projected prevalence estimates of 67 million by the year 2030 and suggest that the number of adults with arthritis is growing by almost 1 million per year. The study also reports over 21 million (42% of adults with arthritis) reported having activity limitations due to their arthritis. This estimate is higher than expected based on future projected estimates of 25 million by 2030.

Obesity may be a special problem in arthritis; 1 in 3 obese adults report having arthritis. Obesity is associated with incident knee osteoarthritis (OA), disease progression, disability, total joint replacement, and poor clinical outcomes after joint replacement and likely has a critical role in the increasing population burden and impact of arthritis. Even small amounts of weight loss (approximately 11 lbs) may cut the risk of getting knee osteoarthritis by 50% and may reduce mortality risk in patients with osteoarthritis. Information on losing and managing your weight is available here.

This study analyzed three years of data from the National Health Interview Survey, which interviews a sample of civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. population of all ages. The extra years of data allowed CDC to update previous estimates of arthritis prevalence and arthritis-attributable activity limitation and to analyze the prevalence of arthritis by body mass index categories.

Data source

Cheng YJ, Hootman JM, Murphy LB, Langmaid GA, Helmick CG. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation – United States, 2007–2009. MMWR; 2010;59(39):1261-1265.

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