The Center for Disease Control (CDC) just released findings from a recent study on the prevalence of arthritis in Hispanic populations living in the United States—the first study of its kind using nationally-representative samples of seven specific Hispanic and Latino sub-groups, including Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Dominicans, and Cubans.

Published in the Feb. 18 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the study presents key findings about the specific nationalities. Of the estimated 3.1 million Hispanics/Latinos with arthritis,

  • At least one in five people in each sub-group report a significant arthritis-attributable effect (including severe joint pain and activity or work limitations).
  • Puerto Ricans reported the highest prevalence (22 percent), which is similar to the prevalence for non-Hispanic whites (23 percent) and blacks (22 percent)
  • Cubans/Cuban Americans report the lowest prevalence at 11.7%.
  • Mexicans report the highest work limitations.
  • Puerto Ricans report the most joint pain and highest activity limitations.

Congressional Briefing

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the Arthritis Foundation co-hosted a congressional briefing of the study’s data on Feb. 17 in order to educate legislators and highlight the need for action. According to Dr. John H. Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, “These findings suggest a critical need to expand the reach of effective strategies aimed at arthritis prevention and management, particularly among underserved populations.”

"Hispanics...will account for nearly a third of our population by 2050. That is why it's important to understand how arthritis--the most common cause of disability--affects their lives and their work," said Dr. Wayne H. Giles, director of the Division of Adult and Community Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This study...will help us to target our limited resources in ways that maximize the impact public health measures have on improving the lives of Hispanics with arthritis."

Ways to Manage Arthritis

To beat the pain and disability of arthritis and learn strategies for controlling arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation, NAHH, and CDC offer the following resources:

  • See a health provider.  Early diagnosis of arthritis is critical to its management and prevention of activity limitations. The Alliance offers a toll-free bilingual (Spanish and English) Su Familia National Hispanic Family Health Helpline

    (1-866-783-2645 or 1-866-SU-FAMILIA) where individuals can receive trusted health information and referral to health providers, including community health centers, in their community.
  • Exercise.  Low impact exercise, such as walking, reduces pain, improves function and quality of life, and can delay arthritis-related disability. For joint-safe exercise programs, try the Arthritis Foundation’s Life Improvement Series land or water exercise programs offered at more than 1,700 locations nationwide.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Extra weight adds unnecessary stress to your joints. For every pound you lose, that’s 4 pounds of pressure taken off each knee. The Alliance is supporting Hispanic families making movement a daily part of their lives and improving access to heatlhy food through their !Vive tu vida! Get Up! Get Moving! free event series. With over 50,000 attendees to date, it is the largest annual Hispanic family healthy lifestyle event series. To learn more, visit www.getupgetmoving.org (English) or www.vivetuvida.org (Spanish).

  • Discover techniques to manage your arthritis.  Learn how to manage the pain and challenges of arthritis by participating in the Arthritis Foundation’s Self-Help Program, offered in both English and Spanish. These techniques can lead to a 40% reduction in pain.

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