Inactivity-associated medical costs among US adults with arthritis

Authors

  • Guijing Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717

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  • Charles G. Helmick,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Carol Macera,

    1. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
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  • Ping Zhang,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Mike Pratt

    1. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia;
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Abstract

Objective

To analyze direct medical costs among US adults with arthritis and estimate the proportion associated with inactivity.

Methods

In the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey, arthritis was defined using questions on self-reported, doctor-diagnosed arthritis or rheumatism. Physical activity was defined using a self-report question on level of activity. Inactivity-associated medical costs were derived by subtracting costs for active adults from costs for inactive adults after controlling for functional limitation.

Results

Among 5,486 adults with arthritis, inactive persons had higher medical costs than did active persons in all demographic groups examined. In multivariate models adjusting for key covariates, the proportion of costs associated with inactivity averaged 12.4% ($1,250 in 2000 dollars) and ranged from 7.8% to 14.3% among various demographic groups.

Conclusion

Inactivity-associated medical costs among persons with arthritis are considerable. Physical activity interventions may be a cost-effective strategy for reducing the burden of arthritis.

Ancillary