Objectives : To assess the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis through proper diagnosis in a rural community and to elucidate the relevant factors of this health problem in order to develop educational methods for the prevention of female knee osteoarthritis as well to provide basic data for prospective research. Methods : Over a period of three months starting from August, 2000, 432 women over the age of 40 and living in a rural area were selected by a multistage cluster sampling method in order to investigate the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis and the related factors. The study utilized interviews and radiological examination. The criteria of knee osteoarthritis used was the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for osteoarthritis of the knee(1995). Results : The adjusted prevalence of knee osteoarthritis among the subjects was 55.0%, and multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the odds ratio(OR) of knee osteoarthritis among subjects 50-59 years of age and subjects older than 60 years of age as compared to subjects 40-49 years of age were 2.43(95% CI: 1.30-4.70) and 4.40(95% CI: 2.47-7.83), respectively. The OR of knee osteoarthritis among factory workers or farmers as compared to others was 1.79(95% CI: 1.03-3.12). The OR of knee osteoarthritis among subjects who had a family history and subjects who had knee injury or surgical history against those subjects had neither were 2.56(95% CI: 1.42-4.03) and 4.70(95% CI:1.45-15.19), respectively. The OR of knee osteoarthritis among smokers against non smokers was 0.47(95% CI: 0.22-0.97). Conclusions : Related factors of knee osteoarthritis included age, occupation, family history, smoking, knee injury and history of surgery In order to prevent knee osteoarthritis in high risked rural woman, education concerning self-care methods and safety guideline must be provided at the work place by the public and private health sectors. Additionally, these women should be continually encouraged to exercise, including jogging and swimming regularly.
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