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Notice to Readers: Arthritis Awareness Month --- May 2009

May is Arthritis Awareness Month, an observance intended to focus attention on the large and growing problem of arthritis in the United States. Arthritis, which in 2005 affected 46 million (one in five) U.S. adults and nearly 300,000 children, is projected to affect 67 million adults by 2030 (1) and remains the most common cause of disability in the United States (2).

The emphasis of this year's observance is on the benefits of physical activity for persons with arthritis. For adults with arthritis, physical activity can reduce pain, improve function, reduce the risk for disability, and lower the risk for heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Any physical activity is better than none, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (available at suggest that low impact, moderate-intensity aerobic activity totaling 150 minutes a week and muscle strengthening exercise at least 2 days a week generally are safe, beneficial, and achievable for persons with chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Information about physical activity and self-management education programs for adults with arthritis is available from CDC at Additional information about Arthritis Awareness Month activities is available from the Arthritis Foundation online ( or by telephone (800-283-7800). Tips, podcasts, and online tools to help persons with arthritis achieve better overall health by being physically active are available at


  1. Hootman JM, Helmick CG. Projections of US prevalence of arthritis and associated activity limitations. Arthritis Rheum 2006;54:226--9.
  2. CDC. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults, United States, 2005. MMWR 2009;58:421--6.

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Date last reviewed: 4/30/2009


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