CDC-Funded Rural Health Activities

1 in 3 adults in rural areas have arthritis.

Studies show that arthritis affects more people in rural communities than urban areas. In the most rural areas in the United States, one-third of adults have arthritis and over half of these adults report being limited in their activities by their arthritis.

On this page, you will find out how CDC’s Arthritis Program supports activities that promote the health of adults with arthritis in rural areas.

Proven Arthritis Programs in Rural Communities

CDC’s Arthritis Program funds 13 states through the State Public Health Approaches to Addressing Arthritis cooperative agreement which runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2023.

To address arthritis in rural communities, almost half of CDC’s new state arthritis grantees have plans to address easing arthritis symptoms, such as pain or physical limitations, in these underserved areas by implementing proven community-based, lifestyle management programs.

Learn more about states with rural health activities below.

State Arthritis Rural Health Activities


The Arkansas Arthritis Program (AAP) is promoting and expanding lifestyle management programs like the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease program in rural areas. Rural training clinics and practices are introducing Walk With Ease group and self-led programs to promote and increase walking among adults with arthritis. Arkansas is a rural state, with 73 of its 75 counties considered medically underserved areas with health professional shortages.


The Kansas Arthritis Program (KAP) is taking a targeted approach to addressing arthritis among rural and other underserved populations by reducing barriers faced by people with limited income and resources in rural areas. KAP will expand availability of lifestyle management programs through a network of over 200 rural healthcare providers in order to develop strong relationships in rural communities.


The Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program (MOAP) is partnering with organizations and health care providers to expand health services to diverse rural populations. MOAP will promote and expand Walk With Ease program offerings and other lifestyle management education workshops throughout the state, especially in underserved and rural areas. Their plan includes several partnerships to help increase program referrals and self-management education for rural residents with arthritis.


The Oregon Arthritis Program (OAP) is engaging key partners to address health disparities in rural areas and among Medicaid enrollees. OAP plans to expand the Walk With Ease program and implement it statewide, including adding 150 program delivery partners from rural and frontier areas. Since the majority of the state is rural, the organizations’ focus will be on rural residents and Medicaid enrollees with arthritis.


The Utah Arthritis Program (UAP) is collaborating with a major healthcare system, a quality improvement organization, and local health departments to expand arthritis lifestyle management programs to rural and frontier counties in the state. UAP plans to offer Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) programs in these counties to strengthen infrastructure and help reduce disparities caused by the lack of program availability. With workshops in at least 23 community sites and a new digital platform, UAP and partners hope to reach more people in rural and frontier regions of the state.


The Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) arthritis program will prioritize rural areas to identify and address barriers specific to those populations and expand arthritis lifestyle management programs throughout the state. WA DOH and their tribal and rural health partners will develop culturally specific communications in order to reach these underserved residents and enhance the arthritis program’s success and sustainability.

Learn more about the programs mentioned above and other CDC recommended lifestyle management programs for arthritis.

For data about how arthritis affects people in rural across the United States, see the MMWRPrevalence of Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation by Urban-Rural County Classification—United States, 2015.