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A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis

A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis Cover

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 OsteoarthritisRecommendations for Interventions

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. A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis sets the stage for a collaborative and focused action to achieve three overall goals:

  • Ensure availability and access to evidence-based arthritis interventions  addressing self management education, physical activity, injury prevention, and weight management for Americans with OA.
  • Establish supportive policies, communication initiatives and strategic alliances for OA prevention and management.
  • Initiate needed research to better understand the burden of OA, its risk factors and effective strategies for intervention.

The Agenda for OA serves as a blue print for action and sets forth 10 strategy recommendations to reduce OA symptoms such as pain, disability, and loss of function.
CDC has 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. These interventions, which are also beneficial for people with multiple chronic conditions (e.g., arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease) are underused, reaching only about 1% of those who could benefit. See CDC's recommended interventions for people with arthritis. Physical activity has proven benefits for people with arthritis. Read more about physical activity guidelines.

 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.

OA Agenda Resources

Additional OA resources:

CDC Arthritis Content:

Arthritis Foundation:

 Public Health Leaders Weigh In

“Public health in the future will be increasingly about improving the quality of life, not merely its length. Arthritis, with the pain and limitation it inflicts on millions of our people, young and old, sits right in the center of that future.”
James S. Marks, MD, MPH
Senior Vice President and Director, Program Portfolios
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
“Osteoarthritis is a crippling disease that threatens the ability of millions of Americans to live and age independently. Through its work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Arthritis Foundation is helping to deliver advances in public health and arthritis research to those who are at risk or who are already impacted by the disease.”
The Honorable Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Former U.S. Senator, Wisconsin
Former Chairman, Senate Special Committee on Aging
Former Member, Senate Appropriations Committee
“This important report will help the public health community speak with a unified voice and focus our collective efforts on actions that we know will make a difference in the lives of people suffering from osteoarthritis.”
Dr. Ursula Bauer
Director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
“Implementation of the recommendations [contained in the Agenda for OA] paves the way, not only for an expanded public health role in combating arthritis’ effect on our health system and economy, but also in addressing disability and quality of life, particularly for people who must manage multiple chronic diseases such as OA in addition to diabetes, obesity or heart disease.”
Dr. Wayne Giles
Director of the Division of Population  Health for the CDC.


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