Arthritis is a condition involving damage to joints in the body. There are many different forms of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis which is caused by trauma to the joint, infection of the joint or age. Other forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout and autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its self. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection. Pain is the major complaint of arthritis and occurs often and on a daily basis. Arthritis causes a limited amount of physical activity and limited activity may worsen the symptoms of arthritis. Many individuals who have arthritis also may be obese, depressed, have high cholesterol or suffers from heart disease.

A study published in the journal, Arthritis Care and Research, has found that the higher prevalence of arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations (AAL) in the US may be linked to a greater level of obesity and physical inactivity. Researchers compared US and Canadian data in search of disparities associated with the prevalence of arthritis and AAL. Data was analyzed from the Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health (JCUSH), which included information from 3,505 Canadians and 5,183 Americans. It was found that in the US, the prevalence of arthritis was 18.7% and AAL was 9.6%, whereas in Canada the rates were 16.8% and 7.7%, respectively. The results also revealed that the prevalence of arthritis was significantly higher in American women than Canadian women. The authors concluded that the higher prevalence of arthritis and AAL in the US may be a consequence of greater obesity and physical inactivity, particularly in women.  Further public initiatives to reduce obesity and increase physical activity may help to reduce the prevalence of arthritis and AAL.1

1 Badley EM, Ansari H. Arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations in the United States and Canada: a cross-border comparison. Arthritis Care Res. Mar2010;62(3):308-15.