It’s been estimated that over 200,000 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with arthritis, based on new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The disease is most often associated with older adults, but it can actually affect people of any age. The CDC said until now, data on arthritis in those under 18 just hasn’t been well documented.
Analyzing data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, the CDC found there were an estimated 220,000 children and adolescents who had arthritis between 2017 and 2021. Previous estimates of the disease’s prevalence in the younger population had varied widely, suggesting the number of cases among those under 18 was anywhere between 13,400 and 294,000.
An arthritis diagnosis in adolescents was most common in those with diagnosed depression, a heart condition or anxiety — something the CDC said was already found in previous studies.
It also said that the condition was more prevalent among children who were experiencing food insecurity, as well as those who were physically inactive or overweight.
The CDC said that while arthritis can affect children and adolescents of all races and ethnicities, its report identified racial and ethnic disparities, with the condition being twice as prevalent among Black children as with White children.
“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,” the report said. “Addressing social determinants of health and systemic factors that might contribute to disparities in arthritis prevalence needs to be prioritized.”
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