Background. "Arthritis" is a common musculoskeletal condition but the knowledge of what type of arthritis people have, may be limited but may have changed over time in response to campaigns, increased awareness and improved health literacy. This paper describes people who did not know what type of arthritis they had, by a range of relevant demographic and socioeconomic variables, and assesses changes over time in the proportion of people who report having arthritis but do not know what type, using representative population surveillance data. Methods. Data were collected using the South Australian Monitoring and Surveillance System (SAMSS), a risk factor surveillance system where each month, a representative random sample of South Australians is selected from the Electronic White Pages, with interviews conducted using computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). Data were used for the period January 2006 to December 2008 (n = 16465) for respondents aged 18 years and over. Results. Overall, the proportion of respondents who did not know what type of arthritis they had, among people aged 18 years and over, for 2006 to 2008 was 6.5% (95% CI 6.1-6.9). When considering only those respondents reporting that they had been told by a doctor that they had arthritis, 30.1% did not know what type of arthritis they had. Multivariate analysis indicated that males, those with have a trade, certificate or diploma or secondary level of education, who spoke a language other than English at home, were widowed and earned $20,001 to $60,000, more than $80,000 or did not state their income were more likely to maintain that they did not know what type of arthritis they had. Conclusions. Population ageing and an increase in arthritis prevalence in the future will further increase the burden of arthritis. These increases in prevalence are not inevitable, especially if investments are made in public health prevention programs, particularly those addressing cultural and linguistic diversity and differences in socio-economic status and health literacy.
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- Health Literacy
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
- South Australia
- Computer Assist Telephone Interview