Americans suffering from obesity are increasingly afflicted with arthritis, according to a recent assessment conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC arrived at this conclusion after carefully analyzing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to assess the total number of cases of obese adults whom were also medically diagnosed with arthritis from 2003 - 2009. The analysis revealed some very disturbing facts about both diseases including
- a 54 % greater prevalence of obesity compared with nonarthritic adults
- a wide state by state variance in prevalence of obesity
- an increase in the total number of obesity cases in 14 states and Puerto Rico (from 2003 - 2009) with simultaneous decrease of prevalence in Washington, D.C.
- 48 states having age-adjusted obesity prevalence greater than or equal to 30 % in 2009, compared to 38 states in 2003
The data on obesity and arthritis prevalance was collected in odd numbered years i.e. 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 through a random digit phone survey of adults aged 18 and over who reside in the United States, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and US Virgin islands. What was so striking about the report was the increased obesity prevalence among adults with arthritis. Two things are going on here: i.) obesity rates in the US continues to increase and ii.) a significant proportion of the aging US population is in poor health.
What Does This Report Mean To You?
Last February Elena Losina of Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard University estimated that elderly Americans suffering from osteoarthritis and obesity lost 86 million quality of life years. In other words, if arthritis weren't already bad enough, obesity made things even worse. Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes great pain when afflicted joints become inflamed. When stress is placed upon arthritic joints, there exists a very real possibility of a flare-up. Now imagine the stress on arthritic joints has become greatly increased because they must support the extra weight brought on by obesity.
Losina's study underscores the findings of CDC investigators which is that Americans must take proactive measures to prevent obesity. If you are obese, suffer from arthritis or have both conditions, talk to your doctor about starting in a weight loss program that involves healthy food choices and participation in regular exercise. Because why should you suffer these ailments if you can do something about them?
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Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults with Arthritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/
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