BRFSS is a state-based, random-digit–dialed telephone survey of
the noninstitutionalized, civilian U.S. population aged ≥18 years. The
survey is administered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto
Rico. In 2002, respondents in 30 states were asked, "Have you ever been told
by a doctor or other health professional that you have some form of arthritis,
rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia?" Those who answered "yes"
were classified as having doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Respondents also were
asked, "The next questions refer to your joints. Please do not include the
back or neck. During the past 30 days, have you had any symptoms of pain,
aching, or stiffness in or around a joint?" and "Did your joint symptoms first
begin more than 3 months ago?" Those who answered "yes" to both were classified
as having chronic joint symptoms (CJS). Those with CJS but without doctor-diagnosed
arthritis were classified as having possible arthritis.