April 28, 2011 -- Adults with arthritis are more likely than those without arthritis to be obese, according to a new government study.
''The frequency of obesity is 54% higher among people with arthritis compared to those without,'' says Jennifer Hootman, PhD, an epidemiologist with the CDC.
She is the co-author of the report, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
"That was higher than I thought [it would be]," she tells WebMD. "I thought it would be 30% or 40%."
An estimated 72.5 million U.S. adults ages 20 and older are obese; 50 million have arthritis, according to the report.
The CDC researchers wanted to evaluate how many people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis were obese compared to people who do not have arthritis. They analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the years 2003 to 2009.