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Prevalence and Concomitants of Arthritis in the Elderly in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Author: Sergio L. Blay et al.

by Sergio L. Blay, Gerda G. Fillenbaum, Sergio B. Andreoli, Fábio L. Gastal


Information on the prevalence and concomitants of arthritis in developing countries is sparse. It is unclear whether they are comparable to findings in developed countries. To ascertain the prevalence, demographic characteristics, and health-related concomitants of arthritis in older persons in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, a middle income country.


The state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, was subdivided into nine regions. Stratified random sampling was used to identify 880 community residents age =60 years in each region. One region with suspect data was excluded. Of 7040 community residents contacted in eight regions, 6963 participated (1.1% refusal rate). In 1995, trained, monitored interviewers, using structured questionnaires, conducted in-home interviews gathering information on demographic characteristics (age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income, living arrangements, employment status), health behaviors (physical activity, tobacco use, social activity), functional limitations, depression, and 15 self-reported health conditions, including arthritis. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.


Arthritis, reported by 43% of the sample, was more prevalent in women, among the less educated, those with lower income, and higher age. Severity, but not prevalence, differed by race/ethnicity. Controlled analyses indicated significant association with female gender, lower education, and less social activity. Arthritis was associated with reduced odds of stroke, but increased odds of hypertension, varicosities, bronchitis, renal problems, headache, gastrointestinal disorders, and depression. Arthritis was not significantly associated with age or functional limitations, and associations did not differ by gender.


The prevalence, demographic and health characteristics associated with self-reported arthritis in this southern state in Brazil are similar to findings elsewhere in Brazil, and in developed countries.