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Evaluation of PACE® (People with Arthritis Can Exercise)

Funding Number

Callahan (UNC) project MM-0275,

Project Description

Self-management is very important in chronic diseases, and promoting physical activity is a key public health strategy for arthritis management. Although several exercise programs such as People with Arthritis Can Exercise® (PACE) have been created to implement this strategy, none have sufficient scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness to promote the programs through public health avenues.

The primary goal of this project is to assess the effectiveness of PACE® (People with Arthritis Can Exercise), a community-based, group recreational exercise program, on key arthritis-related health outcomes such as pain, function and physical activity level. A secondary goal is to conduct qualitative research among PACE completers and non-completers to determine motivators and barriers to success, as well as to determine the acceptability and suitability of the program.

Key Findings

  • Attending class twice a week, for 8 weeks, patients' pain and fatigue was reduced and their confidence in their ability to manage their arthritis improved.
  • For those attending more than half the classes, additional improvements in stiffness and physical function were significant.
  • Improvements in pain and fatigue were maintained at the 6-month follow-up.
  • Patients reported satisfaction with the class, particularly the social support offered in the group and the ability to work at their own pace.

Abstracts, Publications, Presentations

Freburger J, Callahan LF, Shreffler J, Mielenz T. The effects of a physical activity program on sleep and health-related quality of life in older persons with arthritis. Journal of Applied Gerontology (in press).

Callahan LF, Mielenz T, Freburger J, Shreffler J, Hootman J, Brady T, Buysse K, Schwartz T. A randomized controlled trial of the people with arthritis can exercise program: symptoms, function, physical activity, and psychosocial outcomes. Arthritis Care Res 2008;59(1):92–101.

Schoster B, Callahan LF, Meier A, Mielenz T, DiMartino L. The People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) Program: A Qualitative Evaluation of Participant Satisfaction. Prev Chronic Dis 2005;2(3):1-11.

Principal Investigator

Leigh Callahan, Ph.D. (funded for 2 years)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Leigh_Callahan@med.unc.edu

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