Behavioral risk factors associated with comorbidity in people with epilepsy are largely unknown. We studied a population-based sample of 8057 adults through the 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, in Georgia and Tennessee, ascertaining a lifetime epilepsy prevalence of 2.1% in this population. This structured interview revealed that those with epilepsy had significantly worse self-reported fair or poor health status (39% vs 17% in adults without epilepsy), significantly greater cigarette smoking (38.8% vs 24.9% in other adults), and high rates of obesity (34.1% vs 23.7% in adults without epilepsy). Large percentages of adults with epilepsy reported currently symptomatic asthma and recent joint pain. Adults with epilepsy had lower educational attainment and lower household incomes, but a higher rate of medical insurance coverage, than did other adults. This type of population-based survey can serve to identify health disparities, behavioral risk factors for other chronic diseases, and unmet health care needs in individuals with epilepsy, and to track changes in these measures over time.
- Health outcomes