Approximately one in four U.S. adults have arthritis. Severe joint pain and physical inactivity are common among adults with arthritis and are to poor mental and physical health outcomes. In 2017, marked state-specific variations in prevalences of arthritis, severe joint pain; physical inactivity was observed. Physical inactivity was more prevalent among persons with severe joint pain than among those with less pain.
Therefore state-specific data support efforts to promote participation in arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based self-management education and physical activity programs; which can reduce pain, increase physical activity and function, and improve mood and quality of life. But an estimated 54.4 million (approximately one in four) U.S. adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis (arthritis). So severe joint pain and physical inactivity are common among adults with arthritis and are to adverse mental and physical health effects and limitations.
State-specific prevalence of arthritis
CDC analyzed 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to estimate the current state-specific prevalence of arthritis; among adults with arthritis, the prevalences of severe joint pain and physical inactivity. In 2017, the median age-standardized state prevalence of arthritis among adults aged ≥18 years was 22.8% (range = 15.7% [District of Columbia] to 34.6% [West Virginia]) and was generally highest in Appalachia and Lower Mississippi Valley regions.
Among adults with arthritis, age-standardized, state-specific prevalences of both severe joint pain (median = 30.3%; range = 20.8% [Colorado] to 45.2% [Mississippi]) and physical inactivity (median = 33.7%; range = 23.2% [Colorado] to 44.4% [Kentucky]) highest in southeastern states. Physical inactivity prevalence among those with severe joint pain (47.0%) was higher than that among those with moderate (31.8%) or no/mild joint pain (22.6%).
Self-management strategies such as maintaining a healthy weight or physically active can reduce arthritis pain and prevent or delay arthritis-related disability. Evidence-based physical activity and self-management education programs are available that can improve the quality of life among adults with arthritis. The 2017 age-standardized prevalence of arthritis was highest in Appalachia and the Lower Mississippi Valley; prevalences of severe joint pain and physical inactivity among adults with arthritis highest in southeastern states.
The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, BRFSS data and susceptible to recall, social desirability. So second, low response rates for individual states might bias findings. But finally, institutional populations are excluded from sampling; meaning prevalences of studied outcomes are likely underestimated. Strengths include a measurement of joint pain and a large sample size that allows the analysis of detailed characteristics and subgroups.
Effective, inexpensive physical activity and self-management education programs are available nationwide and can help adults with arthritis safely and confidently physically active. This report provides the most current state-specific and demographic data for arthritis, severe joint pain, and physical inactivity. These data can extend collaborations among CDC, state health departments, and community organizations to increase access to and use of arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based interventions to help participants reduce joint pain and improve physical function and quality of life.