Arthritis Workgroup

Objective Status

  • 0 Target met or exceeded
  • 0 Improving
  • 0 Little or no detectable change
  • 0 Getting worse
  • 4 Baseline only
  • 0 Developmental
  • 0 Research

Learn more about objective types

About the Workgroup

Approach and Rationale

An estimated 1 in 4 U.S. adults (54.4 million people) report a diagnosis of arthritis,1 which is a leading cause of disability2 and a meaningful driver of economic costs.3 Data from 2013 demonstrate that $303.5 billion can be attributed to arthritis each year through medical expenditures and earnings losses, equaling 1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.3 Among people with arthritis, about 44 percent report arthritis-attributable activity limitations.1

Core objectives selected by the Arthritis Workgroup focus on decreasing negative impacts of arthritis and increasing the use of effective, evidence-based interventions to decrease pain and improve function, physical activity, and quality of life for the millions of adults affected by this condition.

Arthritis objectives and targets support several federal strategies and priorities, including the National Arthritis Action Plan, the Osteoarthritis Agenda, and the Lupus Federal Working Group. All Healthy People 2030 core objectives meet several important criteria — for example, they have baseline data, a direct impact on health, and an evidence base.

Understanding Arthritis

While arthritis affects people of all ages and backgrounds, some groups bear a disproportionate burden of negative arthritis impacts. In addition to women and older adults, people who have a lower level of education, are not physically active, or have obesity or other comorbidities report the highest prevalence of arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations.1 The majority of these characteristics are modifiable, and evidence-based interventions are available but underused.

Emerging issues in Arthritis

Arthritis is currently reported by 54.4 million U.S. adults.1 It appears in the most common multiple chronic condition dyad grouping (arthritis and hypertension) and the most common multiple chronic condition triad grouping (arthritis, hypertension, diabetes) among U.S. adults.4

The prevalence of arthritis is projected to increase to 78.4 million adults by 2040 based on the aging of the population alone, which may underestimate the effects of increasing obesity and other population trends.5 Prevalence of arthritis-attributable activity limitations is already outpacing projections,1,5 and the number of U.S. adults reporting arthritis as their main cause of disability is growing.2

In order to address the large and growing needs of shifting population demographics, the public health, medical, and aging services systems will need to respond vigorously to increased demand. It is vital to have data on arthritis, its impacts, and our progress as we continue promoting coordinated efforts to address this condition and its consequences.



Barbour, K.E., Helmick, C.G., Boring, M., & Brady, T.J. (March 2017). Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(9), 246-253.


Theis, K.A. et al. (July 2019). Which one? What kind? How many? Types, causes, and prevalence of disability among U.S. adults. Disability and Health Journal, 12(3), 411-412.


Murphy, L.B., Cisternas, M.G., Pasta, D.J., Helmick, C.G., & Yelin, E.H. (Sept. 2017). Medical Expenditures and Earnings Losses Among US Adults with Arthritis in 2013. Arthritis Care and Research, 70(6), 869-876.


Ward, B.W. & Schiller, J.S. (2013). Prevalence of Multiple Chronic Conditions Among US Adults: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10.


Hootman, J.M., Helmick, C.G., Barbour, K.E., Theis K.A., & Boring, M.A. (2016) Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 68(7), 1582-1587.