Poor areas, higher risk of arthritis

Poor areas, higher risk of arthritis.

Photo: Poor areas, higher risk of arthritis.

People living in poor Brisbane neighbourhoods reportedly have a higher rate and risk of arthritis.

A study, led by the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and Queensland University of Technology, revealed 30% of people living in disadvantaged areas were reported as having arthritis, while only 18% in the more affluent areas.

Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 males and females aged 45 to 65 years, who were selected from 200 neighbourhoods of varying economic status is Brisbane.

Lead author, Dr Sharon Brennan from the University of Melbourne and Deakin University said the findings were concerning, yet important.

“People with the condition suffer a lower quality of life. The symptoms of arthritis such as immobility and pain are debilitating,” she said, adding the results indicated intervention efforts to reduce arthritis may need to focus on both people and places.

According to Dr Brennan, it is “widely known obesity, age and social disadvantage” are linked, and are also risk factors for arthritis.

With implications for policy, health promotion and other intervention strategies to reduce rates or arthritis, Dr Brennan said the next step would be to determine why there was a link to “arthritis and place”; suggesting that if the environment did not encourage physical activity, people would be considered less active.

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