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Study: 220,000 children, adolescents have arthritis

July 20, 2023

About 305 of every 100,000 U.S. children and adolescents have arthritis, and rates are twice as high among Black children compared to White children, a new study found.

“Although preventing some types of arthritis among children and adolescents is challenging, early diagnosis and prompt treatment might prevent permanent joint damage, improve health outcomes, reduce health disparities, and maintain quality of life,” authors wrote in a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the 2017-2021 National Survey of Children’s Health in which parents were asked if their child had ever been diagnosed with arthritis.

An estimated 220,000 youths in the U.S. have arthritis, according to the study. Rates per 100,000 children were highest among adolescents at 592 followed by 231 for children ages 6-11 years and 77 for children under 6 years.

Authors also pointed out racial disparities. Rates per 100,000 youths were 571 for Black/African American children, 339 for children of multiple races, 260 for White children, 235 for American Indian/Alaska Native children and 234 for Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander children.

Children in households with food insecurity and low parental education also had higher odds of having arthritis compared to children not living in these conditions.

“These disparities highlight the importance of addressing social determinants of health because the impacts on health and well-being can be seen as early as childhood,” according to the study.

Data also showed depression, anxiety, overweight, a heart condition, lack of physical activity and living in a household with smoking were associated with increased rates of arthritis.

“These findings highlight that children and adolescents should be prioritized for arthritis prevention and treatments by identifying risk factors for arthritis, developing self-management interventions to improve arthritis, physical activity or weight control, and screening and linking to mental health services,” authors wrote.



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