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Announcements: National Arthritis Awareness Month --- May 2011

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis affects 50 million U.S. adults (most of whom are aged <65 years) (1), costs $128 billion per year (2), and continues to be the most common cause of disability in the United States (3). By 2030, an estimated 67 million adults (one in four) are expected to be affected by arthritis (4).

This year's theme, "Take Action," is aimed at raising public awareness of underused self-management interventions that can improve arthritis symptoms and quality of life. Physical activity (e.g., walking, biking, or swimming) for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, reduces joint pain and stiffness in 4--6 weeks and can be done in increments of as little as 10 minutes at a time (5). Self-management education helps persons gain control of arthritis by learning techniques to reduce pain and activity limitations. Persons who are overweight or obese can reduce symptoms and slow arthritis progression by losing weight. For those with other chronic diseases who also have arthritis (e.g., half of adults with diabetes or heart disease have arthritis), these arthritis interventions might help in managing those other chronic diseases (6,7).

Information about these interventions is available at Additional information is available from the Arthritis Foundation ( and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (


  1. CDC. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation---United States, 2007--2009. MMWR 2010;59:1261--5.
  2. CDC. National and state medical expenditures and lost earnings attributable to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions---United States, 2003. MMWR 2007;56:4--7.
  3. CDC. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults, United States, 2005. MMWR 2009;58:421--6.
  4. Hootman JM, Helmick CG. Projections of US prevalence of arthritis and associated activity limitations. Arth Rheum 2006;54:226--9.
  5. US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee report, 2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2008. Available at Accessed April 21, 2011.
  6. CDC. Arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among adults with diabetes---United States, 2005 and 2007. MMWR 2008;57:486--9.
  7. CDC. Arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among adults with heart disease---United States, 2005--2007. MMWR 2009;58:165--9.

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