Arthritis creates barriers to physical activity for millions of Americans, a new government report indicates. According to the latest issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more than one third of arthritic Americans don't participate in physical activities due to pain caused by the disease.
The government's report is based on data from a national phone survey known as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). In 2009, the BRFSS surveyed 432,207 people in all 50 states, DC and American territories to gather information on the prevalence of no leisure physical activity (LTPA) by arthritis. Respondents were considered to be arthritic if they answered "yes" to a question regarding whether their physician or health care professional had told them they had a form of arthritis, rhuematoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout or lupus. Respondents were classified as "no LTPA" if they replied "no" to a question which asked that other than on the job had they participated in "running, calisthenics, golf, gardening or walking for exercise" during the previous year (prior to survey year 2009).
Arthritis Hinders Exercise For Millions Of Americans
The survey revealed that although the prevalence of no LTPA among Americans declined from 31% in 1989 to 25% in 2002, it also found a 53% disparity gap in the prevalence of no LTPA between adults with arthritis and those not afflicted with the disease. In fact, 35.2% of adults with arthritis are not participating in physical exercise. The physical pain associated with arthritis makes physical exertion difficult, which is ironic because physical exercise can improve arthritis symptoms.
The CDC's latest report isn't surprising. Last May the agency released the results of a BFRSS survey which found that the number of obese adults whom were also diagnosed with arthritis slimbed significantly between 2003 - 2009 (read my article "Arthritis Made Worse By Rising Obesity Rates - CDC Report" to learn more).
Many arthritis sufferers happen to be older Americans. In fact, research conducted by Elena Losina from Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard University shows that osteoarthritis lowers the quality of life for older people whom are obese (read my article "Obesity Worsens Osteoarthritis Pain, Lowers Quality of Life in Older Americans" to learn more about it). Thus it's entirely understandable that pain caused by arthritis will make these people hesitate before participating in physical activities.
Health officials from the CDC write:"Implementing effective communitywide campaigns with arthritis-specific messages, increasing access to arthritis-appropriate physical activity programs, and fostering policy and environmental initiatives likely to benefit adults with arthritis are essential to reducing the overall rate of no LTPA among all U.S. adults."
At present the CDC funds 12 state health departments to assist them in providing physical activity programs and evidence-based health communication campaigns. The governmental agency's Arthritis Program is reportedly working with the Arthritis Foundation and many other national organizations to encourage involvement in physical activity programs geared toward people with arthritis.
People with arthritis can participate in low impact physical exercises such as swimming, elliptical training. Stair climbing, for example, is a low impact exercise that reduces joint stress and burns calories (read my article "Stair Climbing: The Benefits Are Endless" to learn more).
When more people with arthritis become educated about the long term health benefits that physical exercise can provide, they'll realize that physical activities can reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life.
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Hootman, J.M., Watson, K.B., Harris, C., and Barbour, K.E. State-Specific Prevalence of No Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Adults With and Without Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis - United States, 2009. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6048a1.htm?s_cid=mm6048a1_w
"Arthritis Interferes With The Physical Activities Of Millions Of Americans" copyright 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.