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Scourge of arthritis keeps spreading.

ATLANTA -- Health care experts say that the "already staggering social and economic impact" resulting from incidences of arthritis is going to get much worse over the next few decades.

That conclusion comes in the wake of a report published last fall, which showed that between 2007 and the end of 2009 50 million adults (or 22% of the nation's adult population) had arthritis, up from the 46 million afflicted with the condition between 2003 and 2005.

The report, published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also notes that arthritis affects the daily activities of 21 million adults, up significantly from 19 million a few years earlier.

"The report confirms arthritis is common, costly and disabling," says Dr. John Klippel, president and chief executive officer of the Arthritis Foundation. "Arthritis also carries a heavy financial burden, costing our economy $128 billion annually.

"We must as a nation begin to take arthritis seriously and make it unacceptable," he says. "With some 67 million Americans projected to have arthritis by 2030, now is the time to escalate efforts to prevent, treat and cure the most common cause of disability in the United States."

Researchers note that other changes in Americans' health are impacting the onset of arthritis. For instance, they explain, as more people suffer from obesity, the number of arthritis cases grows. The report notes that 29.6% of obese adults have arthritis, whereas slightly less than 17% of those considered normal or underweight have the disease.

"We know obesity leads to and worsens arthritis," comments Jennifer Hootman, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Arthritis Program, which did last fall's study. "The current high rates of obesity in the United States, along with the aging of the population, may be contributing to this increase in arthritis prevalence and associated activity limitations," she says.

The release of the CDC report coincided with the last year's World Arthritis Day. Researchers and executives at the Arthritis Foundation said at the time that they hoped the new findings would draw attention to the nation's rapidly increasing arthritis problem.

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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 14, 2011
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