Background Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Beyond its significant effect on morbidity and quality of life, it has become a major public health issue. Arthritis poses a growing burden on the health care system and the USA economy.
Objectives To estimate the prevalence of arthritis amongst different demographic groups in the US population over a 10 year period.
Methods We collected data from NHANES (National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey) from 2001-2010 for the study. NHANES is a survey research program conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). We calculated the prevalence of arthritis by analyzing the subjects' response to the survey question: “Doctor ever said you had arthritis?”. Sample weights were incorporated into the estimation process. In total, 25,290 survey participants aged > or =20 years (non-pregnant) were included in the study. We used the national census data from 2010 to estimate the population affected by the percentages derived from the survey.(Table attached)
Results Over the 10-year surveyed period, 24.4% of the US adult population reported physician-diagnosed arthritis, which would amount to, approximately, 57 million affected Americans. Over the five cycles (10 years), arthritis prevalence did not change by more than 5%. Almost half of the surveyed population above the age of 60 reported to be diagnosed with arthritis. Importantly, 25% of 40-60 year olds are suffering from arthritis, with women (28.6%) affected more than men (20%). Arthritis was most commonly seen in non - Hispanic white population (27.3%) and its prevalence increased with higher BMIs, even doubling in obese subjects with BMI>40 (38.9%), when compared to normal weight adults with BMI <25 (18%). Patients with lower socio economic status (defined by the poverty scales of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) had a higher prevalence of arthritis (26.1%) as compared to patients of a higher socio-economic status (22%) (Table below).
Conclusions The study provides a USA national estimate of arthritis (57 million) among adults and emphasizes the important link between poverty and the obesity epidemic with the growing public health threat of arthritis, even in younger age.
Disclosure of Interest None declared