On average, women report a higher number of conditions causing activity limitations than men (1.67 versus 1.56 limiting conditions per person reporting the activity limitation). As shown in the table below, there are also gender differences in the conditions that males and females report as the main causes of their activity limitations. Both sexes report back disorders as the most prevalent main cause of disability. Arthritis ranks as the second highest main cause of disability for women, and arthritis is more than twice as prevalent for women as for men (13.3% versus 5.8%). For women, heart disease ranks third, followed by asthma and orthopedic impairments of the lower extremities. Learning disabilities and mental retardation are less frequent disabling conditions for females than for males.
|Main condition causing limitation||Number (in 1000s)||%||Main condition causing limitation||Number (in 1000s)||%|
|All conditions||19,950||100.0||All conditions||17,783||100.0|
|1. Spine or back conditions||3,059||15.3||1. Spine or back conditions||2,829||15.9|
|2. Arthritis & allied disorders||2,660||13.3||2. Heart diseases||2,028||11.4|
|3. Heart diseases||1,943||9.7||3. Orthopedic impairment of lower extremity||1,086||6.1|
|4. Asthma||1,051||5.3||4. Arthritis & allied disorders||1,038||5.8|
|5. Orthopedic impairment of lower extremity||833||4.2||5. Asthma||964||5.4|
|6. Mental disorders||668||3.3||6. Learning disability & mental retardation||881||5.0|
|7. Diabetes||665||3.3||7. Mental disorders||825||4.6|
|8. Learning disability & mental retardation||507||2.5||8. Diabetes||524||2.9|
Source: LaPlante & Carlson (1996), Table M, p. 49.
Surveys: NHIS, 1992