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Abstract

Objective

To estimate the prevalence of overweight and obese Canadians with arthritis and to describe their use of arthritis self-management strategies, as well as explore the factors associated with not engaging in any self-management strategies.

Methods

Respondents to the 2009 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada, a nationally representative sample of 4,565 Canadians age ≥20 years reporting health professional–diagnosed arthritis (including more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions), were asked about the impact of their arthritis and how it was managed. Among the overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25–29.9 kg/m2) and obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) individuals with arthritis (n = 2,869), the use of arthritis self-management strategies (i.e., exercise, weight control/loss, classes, and community-based programs) were analyzed. Log binomial regression analyses were used to examine factors associated with engaging in none versus any (≥1) of the 4 strategies.

Results

More than one-quarter (27.4%) of Canadians with arthritis were obese and an additional 39.9% were overweight. The overweight and obese individuals with arthritis were mostly female (59.5%), age ≥45 years (89.7%), and reported postsecondary education (69.0%). While most reported engagement in at least 1 self-management strategy (84.9%), less than half (45.6%) engaged in both weight control/loss and exercise. Factors independently associated with not engaging in any self-management strategies included lower education, not taking medications for arthritis, and no clinical recommendations from a health professional.

Conclusion

Fewer than half of the overweight and obese Canadians with arthritis engaged in both weight control/loss and exercise. The provision of targeted clinical recommendations (particularly low in individuals that did not engage in any self-management strategies) may help to facilitate participation.