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J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Mar;22(3):227-36. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0390. Epub 2016 Mar 3.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use by Normal Weight, Overweight, and Obese Patients with Arthritis or Other Musculoskeletal Diseases.

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1 Department of Public Health, Clinical and Health Sciences, University of West Florida , Pensacola, FL.
2 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Science, Engineering and Health, University of West Florida , Pensacola, FL.



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. The purpose of the current study was to (1) estimate the prevalence of overall complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and (2) examine the role of body mass index (BMI) on CAM use among normal weight, overweight, and obese persons with chronic lower back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic/rheumatoid arthritis, or musculoskeletal diseases, while controlling for other covariates.


Cross-sectional design using secondary data for 9724 adults from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. Data were weighted and analyzed by using Stata 12 for Windows (Stata Corp., College Station, TX). Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate logistic regression statistics were computed.


The participants were randomly surveyed from U.S. households.


CAM use was measured as reported use of any modality within the five National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health domains.


CAM use was statistically significantly associated with female sex; race/ethnicity; having chronic neck pain, lower back pain, or chronic/rheumatoid arthritis; having limitations due to chronic disease; and geographic region (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05). Factors significantly associated with decreased odds of CAM use included age 50-64 years, income categorized as "other/missing," and having musculoskeletal diseases. Stratification by body mass index suggested increased odds of CAM use among normal/underweight persons with chronic neck pain but decreased odds for those with chronic musculoskeletal diseases. For overweight patients, increased odds of CAM use were significant for chronic lower back pain, musculoskeletal diseases, and chronic/rheumatoid arthritis.


Musculoskeletal diseases and arthritis represent important public health problems with economic implications for the well-being of individuals and society. Identifying CAM use trends by patient weight can be used to improve strategies to increase awareness and access to CAM as part of comprehensive and cost-effective approaches for the management and treatment of these conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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