Obesity Causing 1 in 4 Americans Arthritis
Nearly 50 million U.S. adults, that is 1 in 5, have been diagnosed with arthritis and there are over a million new cases of arthritis being diagnosed every year. The disease is the nation's leading cause of disability and limits the activity for nearly 50 million U.S. adults.
It appears obesity is causing 1 in 4 Americans to have arthritis.
Among those who are obese, one in three women and one in four men have been diagnosed with the disorder, roughly double the proportion among those whose weight is normal.
One leading advocacy group agreed that the new numbers are sobering. "The report confirms arthritis is common, costly and disabling," Arthritis Foundation president and CEO Dr. John H. Klippel said in a statement. "The number of adults with arthritis has increased by nearly one million per year and it is impacting the usual activities of an unprecedented 21 million adults." He added that, "with some 67 million Americans projected to have arthritis by 2030, now is the time to escalate efforts to prevent, treat and cure the most common cause of disability in the United States."
"Arthritis is a large and growing public health problem in the United States, resulting in costs of $128 billion [US] annually, and continues to be the most common cause of disability," the report said. "With the aging population and continued high prevalence of obesity in the United States, the prevalence of arthritis is expected to increase significantly over the next two decades."
Of the total who reported arthritis, 9.4 per cent responded "yes" to the question: Are you limited in any way in any of your usual activities because of arthritis or joint symptoms? Among those who were obese, nearly 34 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men reported arthritis.
"Obesity is associated with onset of knee osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis), disease progression, disability, total knee joint replacement, and poor clinical outcomes after knee joint replacement, and likely has a critical role in the increasing impact of arthritis on disability, health-related quality of life, and health-care costs," the CDC stated.
Treatment guidelines and public health recommendations call for increased physical activity and weight management to reduce pain, improve physical function and enhance quality of life in people with osteoarthritis. "Health-care providers and public health organizations should work together to increase the availability of these interventions for persons with all types of arthritis," the CDC report concluded.
Even small amounts of weight loss can cut the risk of knee osteoarthritis, particularly among women, so efforts to treat and prevent obesity could help ease the burden of arthritis on both individuals and the population at large.