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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Arthritis Afflicts both Young and Old Adults in Area
Tuesday. January 1, 2002

PHILADELPHIA, PA, January 2002 — Data from a widespread survey of the region’s health reveal that a growing percentage of all adults have arthritis. Currently one out of five (20.6%) adults report having arthritis, representing 573,100 adults who have this condition.

The survey, conducted in June of 2000 by the nonprofit Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), further shows that although the percentage of persons who report having arthritis is highest among adults 65 years of age and older (49%), it is the second leading chronic condition reported among adults 18-64 years of age (14.2%), following allergies.

While there are more than 100 specific forms of arthritis, there are specific identifiable risk factors to help individuals understand the likelihood of acquiring the condition.  Similar to diabetes and heart disease, one’s weight, age and income level are risk factors for arthritis.  In Southeastern Pennsylvania, adults living below 150% of the federal poverty level (34.4%) are almost twice as likely to report having arthritis as are the non-poor (17.6%).

These selected findings are from PHMC’s 2000 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a major telephone survey of more than 10,000 households in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia. PHMC will conduct its next Household Health Survey in 2002.

PHMC is a nonprofit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. PHMC is a United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania member agency. For more information about arthritis, please visit the Arthritis Foundation at Additional Household Health Survey findings can also be found online at