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Arthritis Foundation Calls for Efforts to Boost Physical Activity Among People with Arthritis

May 16, 2012

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12:01 a.m. ET, May 16, 2012

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New Report Outlines Practical Strategies to Increase Safety, Accessibility and Appeal of Key Arthritis Management Tool

Washington, DC—The Arthritis Foundation today released Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults With Arthritis, a resource for making physical activity convenient and accessible for adults with arthritis. The new report aims to motivate health agencies, businesses, recreation facilities, and others as partners in providing physical activity opportunities that meet the needs of people with arthritis.

“Effectively educating people about the important role of physical activity in managing arthritis is an urgent task,” said Dr. John H. Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “This report will lead to greater collaboration with our colleagues across a number of professions to make physical activity safe and accessible for adults with the condition.”

As the nation’s most common cause of disability, arthritis affects 50 million adults in the United States—more than 20 percent of the adult population. And this number is expected to grow as the population of older Americans continues to increase. High rates of arthritis among people with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, make physical activity an important component of chronic disease management.

People living with arthritis have disease-specific barriers to being physically active including pain, fear of making their arthritis worse, lack of knowledge about the best type and amount of exercise, and fear of injury. However, physical activity has been proven to help decrease pain, delay the onset of disability, improve physical functioning and independence, and enhance mood and quality of life for adults with arthritis.

“Despite the known benefits, adults with arthritis are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity,” said Dr. Wayne Giles, MS, director of the Division of Population Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Efforts to increase physical activity levels must also be inclusive of individuals with arthritis.”

Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults With Arthritis

Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults With Arthritis is answering the call of the National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis and the Institute of Medicine’s recent report, Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Health Action. It shares strategies included in the National Physical Activity Plan and lays out an initiative that calls on the nation to address barriers and promote physical activity in a way that is safe, accessible, convenient, and inclusive of adults with arthritis in six key sectors including:

Park, Recreation, Fitness, and SportsBusiness and IndustryCommunity and Public HealthHealth CareTransportation, Land Use, and Community DesignMass Media

The report is the result of a multi-year effort by the Arthritis Foundation, as well as a committee of experts in physical activity, arthritis, and various sectors that can influence physical activity levels. As a next step, organizations and individuals who work in and influence the sectors will have an opportunity to develop a guide to implementing the initiative’s sector-specific strategies.

In conjunction with the launch, the Arthritis Foundation is announcing partnerships with the following groups to help propel implementation of the initiative’s recommended strategies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Chronic Pain Association, American College of Physicians Foundation, American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association, American Society for Nutrition, Center for Enhancing Activity and Participation Among Persons with Arthritis (ENACT) at Boston University, Center for Research on Health and Aging at University of Illinois at Chicago, International Council on Active Aging, Hospital for Special Surgery, Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center in Rheumatology at Northwestern University, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, National Athletic Trainers' Association, National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, National Recreation and Parks Association, Shape Up America!, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Society for Women's Health Research, Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina, United States Bone and Joint Initiative, and YMCA of the USA.

For more information on fighting arthritis, including tools for promoting the initiative, visit www.arthritis.org/physical-activity.

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About the Arthritis Foundation

Striking one in every five adults, arthritis is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease and also the nation’s leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to reducing the impact of arthritis, which can severely damage joints and rob people of their ability to live normal lives, including children. The Foundation provides proven programs to help fight arthritis pain, pursues public policy on behalf of patients, and supports groundbreaking research for effective treatments and a cure.

 

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