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Announcements: Arthritis Awareness Month — May 2015

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis affects an estimated 52.5 million U.S. adults (1), is a common comorbidity among those with multiple chronic conditions, and is a leading cause of disability in the United States (2).

Although physical activity can help reduce joint pain and disability among those with arthritis, only one in 10 persons with arthritis meet HHS physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (3) Walking is a preferred exercise among arthritis patients (4) and has been shown to improve arthritis symptoms, physical function (e.g., walking speed), and quality of life (5). The importance of walking was underscored in a recent report demonstrating that decreased physical function, as documented by walking speed, was related to both all-cause and cardiovascular disease deaths among adults with hip osteoarthritis (6). For those concerned about safely increasing their walking, programs like Walk With Ease (WWE), a 6-week walking program, can help. WWE has been shown to reduce pain and fatigue and increase function, ability, strength, balance, and walking pace among adults with arthritis and is one of several CDC-recommended physical activity interventions ( Increased availability of WWE programs in community settings for adults with arthritis will help them reduce their pain and improve their health.

Information about ways to help manage arthritis is available at Additional information is available from the Arthritis Foundation ( and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (


  1. Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Theis KA, et al. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2010-2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2013;62:869–73.
  2. CDC. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults—United States, 2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2009;58:421–6.
  3. Dunlop DD, Song J, Semanik PA, et al. Objective physical activity measurement in the osteoarthritis initiative: Are guidelines being met? Arthritis Rheum 2011;63:3372–82.
  4. Manning VL, Hurley MV, Scott DL, Bearne LM. Are patients meeting the updated physical activity guidelines? Physical activity participation, recommendation, and preferences among inner-city adults with rheumatic diseases. J Clin Rheumatol 2012;18:399–404.
  5. Callahan LF, Shreffler JH, Altpeter M, et al. Evaluation of group and self-directed formats of the Arthritis Foundation's Walk With Ease Program. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2011;63:1098–107.
  6. Barbour KE, Lui LY, Nevitt MC, et al.; Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) Research Group. Hip osteoarthritis and the risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality in older women: Population-based cohort study. Arthritis Rheumatol 2015.

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