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Population attributable risk from obesity to arthritis in the Canadian Population Health Longitudinal Survey 1994-2006

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Published:25th Mar 2020


To examine the relationship, potential associations, and determine the population attributable risk percent (PAR%) between obesity and arthritis in Canadians aged 40 to 79 from 1994 to 2006.


Our study population were the 17 276 respondents in the Canadian National Population Longitudinal Health Survey data, from 1994/1995 to 2006/2007.


Respondents who were overweight and obese increased over time, with arthritis increasing from 20% to 30% over the study period. Women reported a 10% higher prevalence of arthritis than men. Men aged 70–79 and women aged 60–69 were most likely to report arthritis. PAR% calculations indicated that 3.8% of arthritis in 1994 and 7.5% in 2006 in the overall population could be attributed to overweight, while the proportion of arthritis attributable to obesity increased from 7.0% in 1994 to 10.2% in 2006.


Increasing overweight/obesity of the population was positively associated with arthritis in Canada for both sexes. In addition to the many other beneficial health effects, reducing levels of excess weight may result in either less arthritis or fewer manifestations of symptoms of arthritis or both.

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