Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015
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Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:

    In the United States, doctor-diagnosed arthritis is a common and disabling chronic condition. Arthritis can lead to severe joint pain and poor physical function, and it can negatively affect quality of life.


    CDC analyzed 2013–2015 data from the National Health Interview Survey, an annual, nationally representative, in-person interview survey of the health status and behaviors of the noninstitutionalized civilian U.S. adult population, to update previous prevalence estimates of arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations.


    On average, during 2013–2015, 54.4 million (22.7%) adults had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and 23.7 million (43.5% of those with arthritis) had arthritis-attributable activity limitations (an age-adjusted increase of approximately 20% in the proportion of adults with arthritis reporting activity limitations since 2002 [p-trend <0.001]). Among adults with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, the prevalences of doctor-diagnosed arthritis were 49.3%, 47.1%, and 30.6%, respectively; the prevalences of arthritis-attributable activity limitations among adults with these conditions and arthritis were 54.5% (heart disease), 54.0% (diabetes), and 49.0% (obesity).

    Conclusions and Comments

    The prevalence of arthritis is high, particularly among adults with comorbid conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Furthermore, the prevalence of arthritis-attributable activity limitations is high and increasing over time. Approximately half of adults with arthritis and heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, or arthritis and obesity are limited by their arthritis. Greater use of evidence-based physical activity and self-management education interventions can reduce pain and improve function and quality of life for adults with arthritis and also for adults with other chronic conditions who might be limited by their arthritis.

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