U.S. Survey Shows Arthritis Rates Continue to Soar

Physician-diagnosed arthritis and related disability are on the rise

FRIDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Physician-diagnosed arthritis affects 46.4 million people in the United States and 8.3 percent of them are severely limited by their disease, according to new statistics from the 2003-2005 National Health Interview Survey. The findings are reported in the Oct. 13 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A 2002 survey found 42.7 million people had arthritis and 7.8 percent said their condition severely limited their life activities.

Jennifer Hootman, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues report that the prevalence of arthritis was higher among women than men during 2003-2005 (25.4 percent versus 17.6 percent, respectively). Adults aged 65 or older were also more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis than their younger counterparts.

Arthritis prevalence was higher among respondents who were obese or overweight than their thinner counterparts, the survey found. One-quarter of sedentary individuals had arthritis compared with 19.5 percent of those who reported being physically active. The less-educated were more likely to have physician-diagnosed arthritis and more severe limitations than their more-educated counterparts.

"Public and private health agencies should promote measures to increase the availability of evidence-based arthritis prevention and management interventions," the study authors write.

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