The incidence of orthopedic problems was examined in 5,582 men and women who attended the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas between 1974 and 1982. The effects of age, physical activity, physical fitness, and body mass index (BMI) on the occurrence of these problems were examined using a proportional hazards approach. The expected risk of orthopedic problems per person-year was 0.045 for men and 0.046 for women. For men, physical fitness, BMI, and physical activity were associated with orthopedic problems, while for women, physical activity was the main predictor. Age was not a factor for either gender. The effect of change in physical fitness, physical activity, and BMI was examined in a subset of 2,325 persons with more than one visit to the clinic. For women, physical activity and a decrease in BMI were associated with orthopedic problems, while for men none of those factors were significant. Again, age was not a factor in either group. The absence of any age effect on the occurrence of problems suggests that with regard to orthopedic problems, moderate amounts of physical activity in generally healthy persons may be recommended without special consideration as to age.