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Arthritis in Wisconsin Facts

How common is arthritis?

Arthritis is a very common chronic condition in Wisconsin. Based on 2018 survey data, about 26% of Wisconsin adults aged 18 years and older (1.1 million people) reported they have some form of arthritis. In the U.S., it is 26% of adults. 1

Arthritis by characteristics

Although arthritis affects both men and women, women have a higher prevalence rate. In 2018, about 29% of Wisconsin women (594,000) reported arthritis in comparison to 24% of Wisconsin men (467,000).

Arthritis affects people of all races and ethnicities. Of adults with arthritis, 28% are white; 17% are African American; and 18% are of other races.

Adults who are overweight or obese are more likely to have arthritis than those of normal weight. Overall, 25% of adults reported arthritis, but arthritis was reported by 36% of those classified as obese and 24% of those classified as overweight. Weight category is based on body mass index (BMI), a measurement based on height and weight. Weight categories are normal, overweight, and obese. A normal weight is a BMI of at least 19 and less than 25; overweight is a BMI of at least 25 and less than 30. Obese is a BMI of 30 or greater. 2

Over 50% of adults with arthritis reported having diabetes, 57% had heart disease, and 45% had high blood pressure.

Arthritis costs

In Wisconsin, costs related to arthritis and rheumatic conditions total nearly $2.4 billion per year. This amount includes $1.5 billion in direct costs (medical expenditures) and $895 million in indirect costs (lost earnings). 3,4


1. CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System., 2018.

2. National Institutes of Health - NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative (PDF)

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Impact of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions on the health care system - United States, 1997. MMWR 1999; 48:349-53.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National and state expenditures and lost earnings attributable to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions - United States, 2003. MMWR 2007; 56:338.

Last revised June 4, 2020