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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Jun;63(6):788-99. doi: 10.1002/acr.20430.

Health-related quality of life of US adults with arthritis: analysis of data from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 2003, 2005, and 2007.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



To describe the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of persons with and without arthritis in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia, and to determine correlates of poor HRQOL in persons with arthritis.


Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were used. Descriptive analyses were age standardized and multivariate analyses used logistic regression.


Of persons ages ≥18 years with arthritis, 27% reported fair/poor health, compared to 12% without arthritis. The mean numbers of physically unhealthy, mentally unhealthy, and activity-limited days for persons with arthritis exceeded those for persons without arthritis. In regression analyses, black non-Hispanics reported better HRQOL than white non-Hispanics, especially in the ≥14 versus 0 days comparisons. Yet no difference existed in self-reported health status between these two groups. Having a low family income and being unable to work were both strongly associated with poor HRQOL. Being physically active was associated with better HRQOL. Binge drinking was associated with poor HRQOL for some measures, but was associated with better self-reported health. Cost being a barrier to care and having diabetes mellitus were strongly associated with worse HRQOL.


Adults from the US with arthritis had worse HRQOL than those without. Physical health and mental health were both affected by arthritis; therefore, efforts to alleviate the arthritis burden should address both domains. Given the current and projected high prevalence of arthritis, we face a significant burden of poor HRQOL. Increasing physical activity, reducing comorbidities, and increasing access to health care could improve the HRQOL of persons with arthritis.

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