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National Arthritis Month --- May 2004

May is National Arthritis Month. This year's theme is "The 11-Step Challenge," and the Arthritis Foundation is urging persons to limit the impact of arthritis on their lives by following 11 steps, among them shedding excess weight, becoming active, and maintaining a healthy diet.

In 2001, an estimated 49 million U.S. adults had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and an additional 21 million adults had possible arthritis (1). Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are the leading causes of disability in the United States (2). CDC, the Arthritis Foundation, and other organizations continue to implement the National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy (3) to promote progress toward reaching the arthritis-related national health objectives for 2010 (objectives 2.1--2.8) (4).

Additional information about arthritis, National Arthritis Month, the 11-Step Challenge, the National Arthritis Action Plan, and local arthritis programs and services is available at or by telephone, 800-283-7800.


  1. CDC. Prevalence of self-reported arthritis or chronic joint symptoms among adults---United States, 2001. MMWR 2002;51:948--50.
  2. CDC. Prevalence of disabilities and associated health conditions among adults---United States, 1999. MMWR 2001;50:120--5.
  3. Arthritis Foundation, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, CDC. National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy. Atlanta, Georgia: Arthritis Foundation, 1999.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010, 2nd ed. With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health. 2 vols. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.

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This page last reviewed 5/12/2004