Higher Incidence of OA Seen in U.S. Military

Female, black, and older active-duty personnel have higher incidence of osteoarthritis

THURSDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Active duty U.S. military personnel have significantly higher incidence rates (IRs) for osteoarthritis (OA) than comparable age groups in the general population, according to a study published online June 29 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Kenneth L. Cameron, Ph.D., from the Keller Army Hospital in West Point, N.Y., and colleagues examined the incidence of OA and the corresponding occupational and demographic elements in active duty U.S. service members between 1999 and 2008. The Defense Medical Surveillance System was used to obtain data on gender, race, age, branch of military service, and rank. The IRs and IR ratios (IRRs) for OA per 1,000 person-years were assessed.

The investigators identified 108,266 incident cases of OA in the military population that experienced a total of 13,768,885 person-years at risk to the disease during the study period. The unadjusted IR among all active-duty personnel during the same duration was 7.86 per 1,000 person-years. Gender, age, race, service branch, and rank were all significant risk factors for OA. Women showed an almost 20 percent higher adjusted IR than men (IRR, 1.19), and black service members had significantly higher IRs compared to white personnel or those in other race categories. The adjusted IR for personnel age 40 years or older was a 19 times higher than those age 20 years or younger (IRR, 18.61).

"Rates for OA were significantly higher in military populations when compared to comparable age groups in the general population," the authors write.

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