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Health Reports & Data

Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions


Prevent illness and disability related to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, osteoporosis, and chronic back conditions.


Arthritis, osteoporosis, and chronic back conditions all have major effects on quality of life, the ability to work, and basic activities of daily living.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Arthritis commonly occurs with other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Interventions to treat the pain and reduce the functional limitations from arthritis are important, and may also enable people with these other chronic conditions to be more physically active. The Arthritis objectives for 2020 track a variety of pain, function, and intervention measures that are important for monitoring progress in addressing arthritis as a public health problem.

Osteoporosis is a disease marked by reduced bone strength leading to an increased risk of fractures (broken bones). The Osteoporosis objectives for 2020 track bone mineral density as a measure of the major risk factor for fractures, and hip fractures, the major and most serious of osteoporosis-related fractures.

Chronic back pain (CBP) is common, costly, and potentially disabling. The related objective for 2020 tracks activity limitation due to chronic back conditions.

Why are Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions Important?


Arthritis affects 1 in 5 adults1 and continues to be the most common cause of disability.2 It costs more than $128 billion per year.3 All of the human and economic costs are projected to increase over time as the population ages.4

There are interventions that can reduce arthritis pain and functional limitations, but they remain underused.5 These include:

  • Increased physical activity
  • Self-management education
  • Weight loss among overweight/obese adults


In the United States, an estimated 5.3 million people aged 50 years and older have osteoporosis. Most 12 million men, have low bone mass, which puts them at increased risk for developing osteoporosis.6 Half of all women and as many as 1 in 4 men aged 50 years and older will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.7

Chronic Back Conditions

About 80 percent of Americans experience low back pain (LBP) in their lifetime. It is estimated that each year:

  • 15-20 percent of the population develops protracted back pain.
  • 2-8 percent has chronic back pain (pain that lasts more than 3 months).
  • 3-4 percent of the population is temporarily disabled due to back pain.
  • 1 percent of the working-age population is disabled completely and permanently as a result of LBP.8

Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on LBP. LBP is the:

  • Second leading cause of lost work time (after the common cold)
  • Third most common reason to undergo a surgical procedure
  • Fifth most frequent cause of hospitalization

Additional Resources

HP2020’s National Objectives for Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions
HHDW Reports for Arthritis


  1. Hootman J, Bolen J, Helmick C, et al. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2003–2005. MMWR. 2006;55(40):1089-92.
  2. Brault MW, Hootman J, Helmick CG, et al. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults, United States, 2005. MMWR. 2009;58(16):421-26.
  3. Yelin E, Murphy L, Cisternas MG, et al. Medical care expenditures and earnings losses among persons with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in 2003, and comparisons with 1997. Arth Rheum 2007;56(5):1397-1407.
  4. Hootman JM, Helmick CG. Projections of US prevalence of arthritis and associated activity limitations. Arth Rheum 2006;54(1):226-9.
  5. Arthritis Foundation; Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National arthritis action plan: A public health strategy. Atlanta: Arthritis Foundation; 1999.
  6. Looker AC, Melton LJ 3rd, Harris TB, et al. Prevalence and trends in low femur bone density among older US adults: NHANES 2005-2006 compared with NHANES III. J Bone Miner Res. 2010;25:64-71.
  7. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General. Bone health and osteoporosis: A report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: US GPO; 2004, p. 436.
  8. Martin BI, Turner JA, Mirza SK, et al. Trends in health care expenditures, utilization, and health status among US adults with spine problems, 1997–2006, Spine. 2009 Sep 1;34(19):2077-84.
State Indicator Definition:
Percentage of adults aged 18 years and over with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia who report a limitation in their activity due to arthritis or joint syndromes. The national indicator is defined in exactly the same way.

State Baseline:
42.2% (2011)

Most Recent State Value:
42.2% (2015)

HP2020 Target:
National: 35.5%

National Data Source:
National Health Interview Survey

State Data Source:
Hawaii Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Data Reports:
HHM Report

Reduce the impact of doctor-diagnosed arthritis on employment in the working-aged population
State Indicator Definition:
Percentage of adults aged 18 and over with doctor-diagnosed arthritis who report limitations in their ability to work for pay due to arthritis. The national indicator is restricted to adults aged 18 to 64 years.

State Baseline:
33.6% (2011)

Most Recent State Value:
30.7% (2015)

HP2020 Target:
National: 29.8%

National Data Source:
National Health Interview Survey

State Data Source:
Hawaii Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Data Reports:
HHM Report