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Had pain/aching at joints, past 30 days

Codes and Frequencies

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JNTMO indicates whether sample adults who were ever told they had arthritis or a related condition (ARTHGLUPEV) had "any symptoms of pain, aching, or stiffness in or around a joint" during the past 30 days. Interviewers preceded this question with the statement, "The next questions refer to your joints. Please do NOT include the back or neck." Prior to 2019, this was asked of all sample adults.

Related Variables 

Persons with an affirmative response in JNTMO were handed a card showing a figure of the body (front and back) with sixteen joints labeled and numbered (together with the statement, "You may choose more than one."). They were then asked the follow-up question, "Which joints were affected?" Responses to this question were converted into dichotomous variables by the National Center for Health Statistics, with each variable indicating whether the joint was "Mentioned" or "Not mentioned" as being affected. See JNTMOANKLEL for a list of the variables for affected joints.

Persons who answered "Yes" to the question associated with JNTMO were also asked whether their joint symptoms began over 3 months ago (JNT3MOAGO) and whether they had ever talked to a health professional about their joint symptoms (JNTSAWDREV). In 2002-2003 and 2006, another follow-up question asked respondents to rate how bad their joint pain was during the past 30 days (JNTPAINRATE).


Prior to 2019, this variable is completely comparable over time.

Differences from Similar Variables for 1997-2001 

In 1997-2001, sample adults age 18+ were asked whether they had "pain, aching, stiffness or swelling in or around a joint" during the past 12 months (JNTYR). As in 2002 forward, persons who reported having joint problems were asked a follow-up question about which joints were affected (see JNTYRANKLEL for a list of the affected joint variables available in 1997-2001).

Because of the change in the reference period (past 12 months in 1997-2001 versus past 30 days in 2002 forward) and the change in question wording (i.e., back and neck problems were excluded beginning in 2002), the NHIS Survey Descriptions for 2003 forward warn that any comparisons of joint symptom data between the two time periods "should be undertaken with caution."

The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 2002-2018: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 2019: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told they had arthritis or related condition (ARTHGLUPEV).


  • 2002-2019