- According to this month’s Vital Signs, about 1 in 4 adults in the United States has arthritis.
- About 24 million adults with arthritis are limited in their everyday activities, such as holding a cup, lifting a grocery bag, or walking to a car.
- Public health professionals can promote physical activity and disease management programs to adults with arthritis.
The CDC combined data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) years 2013-2015 Sample Adult Core components to estimate average annual arthritis prevalence in the civilian, non-institutionalized US adult population aged 18 years or older. Overall, an estimated 22.7% (54.4 million) of adults had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, with significantly higher age-adjusted prevalence in women (23.5%) than in men (18.1%). Arthritis prevalence increased with age.1
The impact of arthritis on individuals is significant. About 43.5% (23.7 million) of the 54.4 million adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis have limitations in their usual activities due to their arthritis.1
The age-adjusted prevalence of arthritis among adults reporting no leisure time physical activity (23.6%) is significantly higher than the prevalence of arthritis among adults who report meeting physical activity recommendations (18.1%).1 Arthritis can be a barrier to physical activity, and inactivity is associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and functional limitations.
With the aging of the US population, the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase in the coming decades. By the year 2040, an estimated 78.4 million (25.9% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis,2 compared with the 54.4 million adults in 2013-2015. Two-thirds of those with arthritis will be women. Also by 2040, an estimated 34.6 million adults (43.2% of adults with arthritis or 11.4% of all US adults) will report arthritis-attributable activity limitations.2 These estimates may be conservative, as they do not account for the current trends in obesity, which may contribute to future cases of osteoarthritis.
National Arthritis Prevalence Projections
Figure 1. Estimated and Projected Number of Adults with Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis in the United States
Data Source: 2013-2015 National Health Interview Survey
- Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring MA, Brady TJ. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation --- United States, 2013—2015. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017 March 7. [Epub ahead of print].
- Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA. Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68(7):1582-7. doi: 10.1002/art.39692. PubMed PMID: 27015600.