Analysis of Risk and Protective Factors for Arthritis Status and Severity Using Survey Data

Masaru Teramoto, Sheniz Moonie


This study looked at how cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, and physical activity are associated with the prevalence and severity of arthritis among adults living in Delaware, U.S. through the analysis of survey data. We examined data from the 2009 Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Weighted percentages were calculated for the arthritis-related factors above by arthritis status and activity limitation due to arthritis/joint symptoms, and were analyzed using the Rao-Scott χ2 test. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to determine an odds ratio (OR) while adjusting for gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education. Adult Delawareans self-reporting arthritis were more likely to be former and current smokers than those without self-reported arthritis (p < 0.001; OR = 1.58 for former smokers vs. non-smokers; OR = 1.52 for current smokers vs. non-smokers). Moderate and heavy alcohol consumption was associated with lower severity of arthritis (p < 0.001; OR = 0.66 for moderate drinking vs. no drinking; OR = 0.50 for heavy drinking vs. no drinking). There was a significant relationship of obesity to both arthritis status (p < 0.001; OR = 2.13 for obesity vs. not overweight/obesity) and severity (p < 0.008; OR = 1.67 for obesity vs. not overweight/obesity). Furthermore, people having arthritis-related activity limitation were more likely to not meet the current physical activity recommendations (p = 0.013; OR = 1.46). It appears that smoking and obesity have a negative impact on the risk and severity of arthritis, whereas alcohol consumption and physical activity may be protective against arthritis. A proper analysis of survey data is essential to truly understand how human behavior impacts people’s health.


Rao-Scott χ2 test, logistic regression, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, physical activity, odds ratio

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ISSN: 1929-6029