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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
January 20, 2015

Veterans Have Higher Arthritis Rates Than Civilians

JAMA. 2015;313(3):236. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17592

Arthritis affects at least a quarter of military veterans, according to a new study that for the first time included both women and men in the US armed services (Murphy LB et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63[44]:999-1003).

The investigators analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from nearly 1.3 million civilians and about 112 000 veterans who participated in the surveys in 2011 through 2013. They found that 25.6% of veterans reported having arthritis compared with 23.6% of adults who had not served in the military. Female veterans had a higher incidence of arthritis—31.3%—than male veterans, 25%. Although men with a history of military service had more arthritis at every age compared with civilian men, arthritis rates were higher among young (aged 18-44 years) and middle-aged (aged 44-64 years) female veterans compared with civilian women.