This guide is designed to engage a broad array of organizations as partners in instituting policy and environmental strategies for increasing physical activity among adults with arthritis. Regular physical activity is important for all adults and those with arthritis are no exception. It has been proven to decrease pain, delay the onset of disability, improve physical functioning, mood and independence, and enhance quality of life, aerobic capacity and muscle strength. Despite these significant benefits, adults with arthritis have higher rates of physical inactivity than those without arthritis.
Arthritis affects 52.5 million adults and is the most common cause of disability in the United States. Currently, more than 20 percent of U.S. adults have the disease. If current trends continue, by 2030 arthritis will rob more than 30 million Americans of their ability to move freely.
The Arthritis Foundation aims to reduce by 20% the number of people with arthritis-related physical activity limitations, preserving the mobility and quality of life of 6 million people. Boosting Physical Activity among Adults with Arthritis is designed to help achieve that objective by engaging agencies and organizations in six key sectors and encouraging partnerships to implement environmental and policy strategies to make regular physical activity will become institutionalized and sustainable.
Sectors for Action
Six sectors play particularly crucial roles in reaching, influencing, and sustaining physical activity among adults with arthritis. Definitions of these sectors are adapted from the National Physical Activity Plan, which was launched in May, 2010. The National Physical Activity Plan for the United States was developed by a coordinating committee consisting of national physical activity and public health organizations, in collaboration with eight sector working groups consisting of government, non-government, private industry, and non-profit organizations.
The field of physical activity policies and environmental strategies for adults with arthritis is relatively young. Much remains to be learned about what works best and for whom. To help make this a dynamic and evolving guide, please share your experiences with others so that we can learn from one another and collectively make an even greater impact.
The success of policy and environmental strategies depends on their adoption and integration into the fabric of our communities, workplaces, cultures, and routines. Partnerships are essential for making physical activity more convenient and accessible for adults with arthritis. Working within and across multiple sectors increases the likelihood that physical activity strategies are embedded in our social fabric and can be sustained and embellished over time.