About CDC's Arthritis Program

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to protect the health of 54.4 million men and women with arthritis in the United States. Our vision is one where men and women with arthritis live the fullest life possible, with the ability to pursue valued life activities with minimal pain.

CDC’s Key Focus Areas

Expanding the Science Base and Collecting Data

CDC undertakes scientific research and collects data on arthritis, including information on prevalence, trends, and how the disease affects quality of life for people with multiple chronic conditions. Tools used to collect these data include the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the National Health Interview Survey. Public health practitioners use these data to more efficiently focus their efforts to help people with arthritis. CDC also is working to increase awareness of the effect that arthritis has on the nation’s health and well-being, including its costs and its effect on other chronic conditions.

Supporting State Health Departments

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State health departments use funding from CDC to expand the reach of proven physical activity and self-management education programs by partnering with community organizations that can embed these programs into their routine operations and sustain them over time. Organizations—such as local senior centers and aging agencies, community- and faith-based groups, entities serving veterans, and employers—have partnered with state arthritis programs to deliver self-management education programs and physical activity programs in their communities.

Reaching People Through National Programs

Improving the quality of life for the millions of people with arthritis in the United States is the top priority for CDC’s arthritis program. To meet this priority, CDC is working with national partners—the American Physical Therapy Association, Arthritis Foundation, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, University of North Carolina, and the Y-USA—to increase access to self-management education and physical activity programs, and promote walking.

National Programs Examples

The Y-USA—Through CDC funding, the Y-USA (Y) has built a national infrastructure to support and expand delivery of the EnhanceFitness program through local Y branches and associations. The Y has adopted EnhanceFitness as a signature program and offers these classes in more than 36 states. The Y is also participating in a new initiative to address health equity by bringing EnhanceFitness to more Y locations in low-income and underserved communities. These local Y facilities will receive intensive technical assistance and small grants to offset training and start-up costs.

The National Recreation and Parks Association—In partnership with CDC and the Arthritis Foundation, The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) continues to support local park agencies in more than 32 states to deliver the Active Living Every Day program, Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, or Walk with Ease Program. The funding received covers program training and start-up costs.