Key Public Health Messages

CDC’s Arthritis Program promotes five key messages to help adults affected by arthritis be in control of their condition and their lives. These five key messages describe simple techniques that are easy to implement:

1. Learn Arthritis Management Strategies.

  • Learning arthritis management strategies can provide adults with arthritis with the skills and confidence to effectively manage their condition.
  • Interactive workshops teach self-management skills, are low-cost (about $25 – $35), and available in communities across the country. Attending one of these programs can help a person learn ways to manage pain, exercise safely, and gain control of arthritis.

Learn more about self-management education workshops.

2. Be Active.

  • Research shows physical activity decreases pain, improves function and delays disability for adults with arthritis.
  • Adults with arthritis should strive to get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week for substantial health benefits. This can be broken up into shorter periods. However, some physical activity is better than none.
  • There are group and personal exercise programs, such as EnhanceFitness and Walk with Ease, that can help adults with arthritis increase their physical activity safely and comfortably. Learn about CDC-recommended arthritis-appropriate physical activity programs.

Learn more about physical activity for arthritis.

3. Watch Your Weight.

  • Research confirms that maintaining a healthy weight can limit arthritis progression and activity limitation.
  • For every pound lost, there is a 4 pound reduction in the load exerted on the knee.
  • For adults who are overweight, a modest weight loss (for example, 5% or 12 pounds for a 250 pound person) can help reduce arthritis-related pain and disability.

Learn more about managing your arthritis.

4. See Your Doctor.

  • Early diagnosis and professionally guided management is critical to maintaining a good quality of life, particularly for adults with inflammatory arthritis.
  • Essential disease modifying drugs are beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory arthritis conditions and are available only by prescription.

5. Protect Your Joints.

  • Injuries to joints, such as those related to sports or work, can increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. Jobs that have repetitive motions, for example repeated knee bending, place individuals at higher risk for this type of arthritis.
  • Avoiding injuries to joints can reduce the likelihood of developing or worsening osteoarthritis.