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Arthritis Across America

Photo of families and couples walking along a stream in a park

One in 4 US adults are living with arthritis. Lifestyle programs can help ease arthritis pain and improve joint function.

More than 54 million US adults have arthritis. Lifestyle management programs, including physical activity and self-management education, can ease arthritis pain and improve the quality of life for people with arthritis.

New Arthritis Data

CDC researchers recently updated the Chronic Disease Indicator (CDI) database with new 2016 data. CDI acts as a tool for chronic diseases and risk factors that have a substantial effect on public health. These indicators are essential for surveillance, prioritization, and evaluation of public health interventions.

According to 2016 CDI data:

  • The states with the highest rates of arthritis in the United States include: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
  • 12 states have greater than 26.5% of adults living with doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
  • Over 28% of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States are physically inactive.
  • Over 32% of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States reported that they are in poor health.

What To Do

  • Health care providers and public health professionals should promote physical activity and self-management education as effective ways to reduce arthritis symptoms and improve quality of life, given how common arthritis is in all US counties.
  • People with arthritis throughout the United States have many ways to improve their quality of life:
    • Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults be moderately physically active for 150 minutes per week. Walk, swim, or bike 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. These 30 minutes can be broken into 3 separate 10-minute sessions during the day.
    • Go to CDC-recommended physical activity programs that reduce pain and disability related to arthritis and improve mood and the ability to move. Classes take place at local YMCAs, parks, and community centers. These classes can help people with arthritis feel their best.
    • Join CDC-recommended self-management education classes that teach people with arthritis how to control their symptoms, how to live well with arthritis, and how arthritis affects their lives. People who live with arthritis teach these classes.
Map of United States

The CDC analysis found that the prevalence of arthritis ranged from 11.2% to 42.7% among counties. Download map. [PDF – 683 KB]

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