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OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between socio-economic status (SES) and risk of hand, hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) at a population level. DESIGN: Retrospective ecological study using the System for the Development of Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP) database (primary care anonymized records for >5 million people in Catalonia (Spain)). Urban residents >15 years old (2009-2012) were eligible. OUTCOMES: Validated area-based SES deprivation index MEDEA (proportion of unemployed, temporary workers, manual workers, low educational attainment and low educational attainment among youngsters) was estimated for each area based on census data as well as incident diagnoses (ICD-10 codes) of hand, hip or knee OA (2009-2012). Zero-inflated Poisson models were fitted to study the association between MEDEA quintiles and the outcomes. RESULTS: Compared to the least deprived, the most deprived areas were younger (43.29 (17.59) vs 46.83 (18.49), years (Mean SD), had fewer women (49.1% vs 54.8%), a higher percentage of obese (16.2% vs 8.4%), smokers (16.9% vs 11.9%) and high-risk alcohol consumption subjects (1.5% vs 1.3%). Compared to the least deprived, the most deprived areas had an excess risk of OA: age-sex-adjusted Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) 1.26 (1.11-1.42) for hand, 1.23 (1.17-1.29) hip, and 1.51 (1.45-1.57) knee. Adjustment for obesity attenuated this association: 1.06 (0.93-1.20), 1.04 (0.99-1.09), and 1.23 (1.19-1.28) respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Deprived areas have higher rates OA (hand, hip, knee). Their increased prevalence of obesity accounts for a 50% of the excess risk of knee OA observed. Public health interventions to reduce the prevalence of obesity in this population could reduce health inequalities.

Original publication




Journal article


Osteoarthritis cartilage

Publication Date





1323 - 1329


Database, Osteoarthritis, Primary health care, Socioeconomic status, Adult, Age Factors, Alcohol Drinking, Databases, Factual, Female, Hand, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, Osteoarthritis, Hip, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Prevalence, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Smoking, Social Class, Spain