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Announcements: World Arthritis Day 2012

October 12, 2012, is World Arthritis Day. Started in 1996, World Arthritis Day serves as a focus for organizations and individuals to work toward increasing awareness of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions worldwide. In the United States, 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some form of arthritis or other rheumatic condition (1). Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States (2). By 2030, CDC projects that 67 million persons will be affected by arthritis, and among those, 25 million will be limited in their usual activities (3).

This year's theme is "Move to Improve." For persons with arthritis, aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises can reduce pain; improve mobility, function, and mood; and delay disability, helping them to stay independent, keep working, and participate in valued social activities (4). Physical activity also can help persons with arthritis to manage their other chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Low impact, moderate intensity activities such as walking, cycling, water exercise, and fitness classes are safe and effective for persons with arthritis. The current recommendation for adults, including those with arthritis, is 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity per week. That can be achieved with 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days per week. Activity can be broken into 10–15 minute sessions and spread throughout the day.

CDC funds 12 state health departments to implement and disseminate physical activity, self-management education, and health communications campaigns targeting adults with arthritis. During 2008–2011, these 12 states delivered evidence-based self-management education or physical activity programs to >132,000 persons with arthritis. Additional information on World Arthritis Day is available at


  1. CDC. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2007–2009. MMWR 2010;59:1261–5.
  2. CDC. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults—United States, 2005. MMWR 2009;58:421–6.
  3. Hootman JM, Helmick CG. Projections of US prevalence of arthritis and associated activity limitations. Arth Rheum 2006;54:226–9.
  4. 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 August 28, 2012.

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