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Underused Arthritis Interventions Can Keep You More Mobile

March 2, 2010
The CDC and the Arthritis Foundation have launched the first national agenda for osteoarthritis to help the millions of people who live with this chronic condition. Osteoarthritis (OA), which affects mainly hands, knees and hips, is the most common form of arthritis and is a serious and painful joint disease that places severe limits on daily activity and quality of life for more than 27 million Americans. OA often causes weakness and disability, interferes with work productivity, results in joint replacement and generates inordinate socioeconomic costs. Public health data show that the prevalence, health impact and economic consequences of OA are expected to increase dramatically during the next couple of decades. Approximately 1 in 2 people may develop symptomatic knee OA in their lifetime. “A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis” was developed by more than 70 stakeholders following a call-to-action led by the Arthritis Foundation and CDC. It sets the stage for a collaborative and focused action to achieve three overall goals during the next three to five years: Ensure the availability of evidence-based intervention strategies, such as self- management education, physical activity, injury prevention, weight management and healthy nutrition to all Americans with OA; establish supportive policies, communication initiatives and strategic alliances for OA prevention and management; and initiate needed research to better understand the burden of OA, its risk factors and effective strategies for intervention. The Agenda for OA is geared to serve as a blueprint for action and sets forth 10 strategy recommendations to reduce OA symptoms such as pain, disability, and loss of function. A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis was developed to help close gaps in program availability, access and quality by guiding future research, policy and public health programs, ultimately getting more people with OA to do things that can help them. CDC has already identified several self-management and physical activity interventions, appropriate for people with varying levels of ability that can effectively delay and even reverse limitations due to arthritis. However, these interventions, which are also beneficial for people with multiple chronic conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are underused, reaching only about 1 percent of those who could benefit. Information on five helpful physical activity programs—the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP), Active Living Everyday (ALED), Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP), EnhanceFitness (EF) and Fit and Strong can be easily accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions/physical_activity.htm, allowing you to locate services in your state and get started on a lifetime plan for greater mobility.