27 Mar Earlier Onset of Arthritis in More Recent Generations Linked to Obesity
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth Badley PhD Professor Emeritus
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Director: The Arthritis Community Research and Evaluation Unit and
Head, Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research
Krembil Research Institute
Toronto Western Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The aging of the baby boomer population is focusing attention on the health experience of this sector of the population. Arthritis is one of the most frequent chronic health problems in the population. Our research question was to investigate whether the prevalence of arthritis differs between generations (also called birth cohorts) and what might be associated with any differences. Using data collected in a longitudinal Canadian population health survey between 1994 and 2011, we looked at 4 generations: the World War II generation born 1935-1944, older baby boomers born 1945-1954, younger baby boomers born 1955-64, and Generation X born 1965-1974.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that each succeeding generation had a higher prevalence of arthritis. The effect of obesity was such that the differences between generations were more marked for obese individuals compared to those of normal weight. Our findings also suggest that obese individuals report arthritis a few years earlier than normal weight individuals. Looking at other things which might affect arthritis prevalence, our statistical analyses suggest that the adverse effect of obesity on increasing the prevalence of arthritis has offset potential benefits of improved education and income over time.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The fact that the prevalence of arthritis is increasing in more recent generations focuses attention on the need to target arthritis management and education to young and middle-aged adults: arthritis is not just a condition of the elderly. That arthritis occurs at an earlier age in obese individuals has implications for the targeting of public health interventions. It also suggests that projections of the future burden of arthritis based solely on age may be an underestimate.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: The earlier onset of arthritis in more recent generations combined with the expected longer work life of many Canadians points to the need for future research to understand the impact of arthritis on the working age population and examine ways to promote well-being in the workplace to provide accommodations to maintain the participation of workers with arthritis in the workforce.
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A population-based study of changes in arthritis prevalence and arthritis risk factors over time: Generational differences and the role of obesity.
Badley EM1,2, Canizares M2,3, Perruccio AV1,2,4.
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Last Updated on March 27, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD