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

Arthritis Affects Large Number of Southeastern Pennsylvania Residents
Wednesday. May 5, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        

May 5, 2010                                                                                        

Contact: Kelley Elliott (267.350.7699 or


Arthritis Affects Large Number of Southeastern Pennsylvania Residents

Age, Physical Activity and Overall Health of Arthritis Sufferers Examined


PHILADELPHIAóIn recognition of Arthritis Awareness Month in May, Public Health Management Corporationís Community Health Data Base (CHDB) released data that shows nearly one quarter of Southeastern Pennsylvania adults (22.7%) have some type of arthritis, representing about 667,000 individuals. The portion of the population with arthritis ranges from 17.5% in Chester County to 25% in Philadelphia County.


Arthritis, an inflammation of the joints, encompasses more than 100 conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, scleroderma, lupus and fibromyalgia. Nationwide, almost 20% of adults have been diagnosed with arthritis; for 7 million Americans arthritis limits their ability to perform everyday tasks and is the second most common cause of work disability.


Reflecting national data, arthritis is more common among women in Southeastern Pennsylvania than among men; almost three in ten women in Southeastern Pennsylvania (27%) have some kind of arthritis, compared to 17.8% of men. In addition, children and adults of all ages are affected and many younger Southeastern Pennsylvania residents have arthritis and arthritis-related conditions. About 53,800 Southeastern Pennsylvania adults between the ages if 18 and 39 have arthritis, as well as about 86,000 adults from 40 to 49 years of age.


Of adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania with arthritis, 70% are overweight or obese. In addition, adults with arthritis are more likely to rate their health as fair or poor (38.1%) compared with adults without arthritis (13.9%). However, there is relief for those who are suffering with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation recommends physical activity as the best way to fight arthritis pain, build muscle, strengthen joints and improve sleep and overall health.


Adults with arthritis are less likely to be physically active than adults without arthritis. Among adults with arthritis who are not physically active on a regular basis, six in ten (59.5%) report that their health is the reason they are not more active. Other data on arthritis and physical activity include:


  • 72.3% of adults with arthritis describe themselves as physically active on a regular basis, compared with 85% of adults without arthritis.
  • Adults with arthritis in Southeastern Pennsylvania are less likely to use neighborhood recreation facilities than adults without arthritis; six in ten adults with arthritis (59.1%) report no use of public recreation facilities in the past year compared with about four in ten adults without arthritis who have not used public recreation facilities. 


This release presents data on adults with arthritis from the 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a biennial, random digit dial telephone survey of over 10,000 households in the five-county region of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. For more information about the Community Health Data Base, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey or arthritis in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact Rose Malinowski Weingartner at or 215-985-2572.


To view previous data news releases, please click here. For more information, please visit



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Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, businesses and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance and direct services. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit