Arthritis Across America
Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is widespread throughout the United States, according to a new study that looks at where arthritis is most common. Physical activity and self-management education can improve the quality of life of those adults with arthritis.
CDC researchers, who published the analysis in the May 20th edition of MMWR, found that reported arthritis was high in every U.S. county—all 3,142 of them. However, findings were different depending on where you live.
- In some counties, nearly 39% (more than 1 in 3) of adults from 18 years old and up said their doctors told them they had arthritis, while in other counties just over 15% (about 1 in 6) of adults said so.
- Adults in most counties in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia had the highest levels of arthritis in the United States.
Walking, swimming and biking are recommended for those with arthritis.
What to Do
- Healthcare providers and public health professionals should promote physical activity and self-management education as effective ways to reduce arthritis symptoms and improve quality of life, given how common arthritis is in all U.S. counties.
- People with arthritis throughout the U.S. have many ways to improve their quality of life:
- Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults be moderately physically active for 150 minutes per week. Walk, swim, or bike 30 minutes a day for five days a week. These 30 minutes can be broken into three separate ten-minute sessions during the day.
- Go to CDC-recommended physical activity programs that reduce pain and disability related to arthritis and improve mood and the ability to move. Classes take place at local Ys, parks, and community centers. These classes can help people with arthritis feel their best.
- Join CDC-recommended self-management education classes that teach people with arthritis how to control their symptoms, how to live well with arthritis, and how arthritis affects their lives. People who have lived with arthritis teach these classes.
The CDC analysis found that the prevalence of arthritis ranged from 15.8% to 38.6% among counties. Download map. [1 MB]
- Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring MA, Zhang X, Lu H, Holt JB. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis at the State and County Level — United States, 2014.
- Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA. Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations among US adults, 2015-2040. Arth Rheum, 2016
- Page last reviewed: May 19, 2016
- Page last updated: May 19, 2016
- Content source:
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs