Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, striking people of all ages, races and ethnicities and currently affects 1 in 5 Americans.  That number is expected to climb to 67 million within 20 years.  The impact of arthritis on the economy is about $128 billion, including over $81 billion in direct costs for expenses like physicians visits and surgical interventions.

Continued Support Needed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Arthritis Program:

The goal of the CDC Arthritis Program is to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis and other rheumatic conditions by working with states and other partners to (1) increase awareness about appropriate arthritis self-management activities, (2) expand the reach of programs proven to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis and (3) decrease the overall burden of arthritis as well as its associated disability, work and activity limitations.

Funding for the CDC Arthritis Program does not fully address the needs of population and has been flat for over 10 years. 
The CDC Arthritis Program continues to be under funded given the number of Americans impacted by arthritis.  The Arthritis Program at the CDC currently receives $13 million to support competitively bid grants to 12 state health departments and other stakeholders and to conduct implement intervention based services.

Additional funding would allow the CDC Arthritis Programs to expand into two new states. These state-based programs would (1) increase evidence based interventions, such as the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease Program, into more communities; (2) reach diverse populations by funding partnership activities; and (3) support the OA Action Alliance, a coalition committed to elevating OA as a national priority. 

CDC Arthritis Program stakeholder grants help serve people with arthritis.
CDC stakeholder grants have helped community based organizations serve patients with arthritis with the goal of decreasing the pain and disability among persons with arthritis.

What Your Members of Congress Can Do to Act on this Issue:

The Arthritis Foundation urges Congress to oppose efforts to consolidate chronic disease programs at the CDC, which could undermine effective work in disease-specific evidence based prevention programs.   Congress should instead allocate $15 million to the CDC’s Arthritis Program in order to address a growing public health crisis and so that the CDC can continue its work and fund and additional two states.

What You Can Do to Act on This Issue:

  • Share this issue brief with your family, friends and community leaders.
  • Share this Arthritis Foundation letter with your House Member.
  • Share this Arthritis Foundation letter with your Senator.
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