About 1 in 4 US adults (23.7%) or about 58.5 million people have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.1 Arthritis is more common in women (23.5%) compared with men (18.1%), more common among adults with fair/poor health (40.5%) compared with those who have excellent/very good health (15.4%), and less common among adults who meet physical activity recommendations (18.1%) compared with adults who are insufficiently active or inactive (23.1% and 23.6%, respectively). Arthritis prevalence increases with age.1
Arthritis prevalence is highest among adults reporting no leisure time physical activity (23.6%) compared with those who are insufficiently active or who meet physical activity recommendations.1 Arthritis symptoms can be a barrier to physical activity, and inactivity among people with arthritis is associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and functional limitations. However, regular physical activity can be an important way to reduce pain, improve function, and manage symptoms for people with arthritis and other chronic conditions.
Learn more about the importance of physical activity on our physical activity for arthritis page.
The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase in the coming decades. By the year 2040, an estimated 78.4 million adults aged 18 years and older (25.9% of the projected total adult population) will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis,2 compared with the 58.5 million adults in 2013–2015. Two-thirds of those with arthritis are expected to be women. Also by 2040, an estimated 34.6 million adults (43.2% of adults with arthritis or 11.4% of all US adults) will report arthritis-attributable activity limitations.2
National Arthritis Prevalence Projections
Estimated and Projected Number of Adults with Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis in the United States
Data Source: 2013–2015 National Health Interview Survey
- Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring M, Brady TJ. Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation—United States, 2013–2015. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:246–253. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6609e1. html
- Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA. Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68(7):1582–1587. doi: 10.1002/art.39692. PubMed PMID: 27015600.