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Spotlight Arthritis Barriers

Older Adults On The Beach

Arthritis as a Potential Barrier to Physical Activity Among Obese Adults—United States, 2007 and 2009

Arthritis is a common comorbidity affecting 36% of obese adults.

CDC analyzed combined 2007 and 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to better understand if arthritis could be a barrier to physical activity among obese adults. Results indicate that in the United States, the prevalence of physical inactivity was highest among those with both arthritis and obesity (22.7%) when compared with arthritis only (16.1%) obesity only (13.5%) and neither condition (9.4%) (Figure 1). CDC found that obese adults with arthritis were 44% more likely to be physically inactive compared with obese adults without arthritis. This study also showed that in every state, the prevalence of physical inactivity among adults with obesity was at least 5 percentage points higher (range=5.4% to 15.9 %) among those with arthritis than those without arthritis.

Arthritis might be a special barrier to increasing physical activity among obese adults. Low impact activities such as walking, swimming, and biking are generally safe and appropriate for obese adults with arthritis and can have a role in both weight and pain reduction. Evidence-based physical activity arthritis programs are offered in many communities for those who want more guidance.

This bar graph shows the prevalence of physical inactivity was highest among those with both arthritis and obesity (22.7%) when compared with arthritis only (16.1%) obesity only (13.5%) and neither condition (9.4%).


Reference

Barbour KE, Hootman JM, Murphy LB, Helmick CG. Arthritis as a Potential Barrier to Physical Activity Among Obese Adults—United States, 2007 and 2009. MMWR 2011;60(19):614–618. html pdf [1.7MB]

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