Objectives: To examine the association between body weight and disability among persons with and without self-reported arthritis.
Research Methods and Procedures: Data were analyzed for noninstitutionalized adults, 45 years or older, in states that participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Self-reported BMI (kilograms per meter squared) was used to categorize participants into six BMI-defined groups: underweight (<18.5), normal weight (18.5 to <25), overweight (25 to <30), obese, class 1 (30 to <35), obese, class 2 (35 to <40), and obese, class 3 (≥40).
Results: Class 3 obesity (BMI ≥ 40) was significantly associated with disability among participants both with and without self-reported arthritis. The adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for disability in participants with class 3 obesity was 2.75 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.22 to 3.40] among those with self-reported arthritis and 1.77 (95% CI = 1.20 to 2.62) among those without self-reported arthritis compared with those of normal weight (BMI 18.5 to <25). Persons with self-reported arthritis who were obese, class 2 (BMI 35 to <40) and obese, class 1 (BMI 30 to <35) and women with self-reported arthritis who were overweight (BMI 25 to <30) also had higher odds of disability compared with those of normal weight [AOR = 1.72 (95% CI = 1.47 to 2.00), AOR = 1.30 (95% CI = 1.17 to 1.44), and AOR = 1.18 (95% CI = 1.06 to 1.32), respectively].
Discussion: Our findings reveal that obesity is associated with disability. Preventing and controlling obesity may improve the quality of life for persons with and without self-reported arthritis.