Arthritis Common Among Obese, Significantly Inhibiting Physical Activity

Thursday, May 19, 2011 General News
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Americans Urged to Take Action During Arthritis Awareness Month

ATLANTA, May 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A nationwide report released today finds arthritis is common among obese adults

and inhibits physical activity, a recommended intervention for both conditions.  The findings were released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with the Arthritis Foundation during National Arthritis Awareness Month in May.  

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

The study, published in the May 20 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, looked at arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among obese adults.  It follows previous reports citing arthritis as a common comorbidity that also hinders physical activity among adults with heart disease and diabetes.

Among the key findings:

  • Arthritis affects 36 percent of obese adults.
  • Obese adults with arthritis were 44 percent more likely to be physically inactive compared to those without arthritis, even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, race/ethnicity and education.
  • In every state, physical inactivity among obese adults with arthritis was at least five percentage points higher than among those without arthritis, ranging from 5 percent to 16 percent higher.

"Weight loss and physical activity can improve arthritis symptoms among obese adults with arthritis," says Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health, Dr. Patience White.  "Low impact activities, such as walking, swimming and biking, are generally safe and appropriate for obese adults with arthritis and can have a role in both weight and pain reduction."

"It is very hard for obese adults with arthritis to become physically active.  Fortunately, physical activity programs are available in local communities that can help obese adults with arthritis safely engage in activities that can improve their pain, function and quality of life," says CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Kamil Barbour, PhD.

To raise awareness that “moving is the best medicine” to fight arthritis pain, the Arthritis Foundation joined the Ad Council in launching a multimedia campaign that features messages about the importance of physical activity and weight reduction in preventing and managing osteoarthritis pain.

Let's Move Together is a nationwide movement led by the Arthritis Foundation that encourages daily physical activity for better health. Visit for creative exercise tips, uplifting stories, information about local Arthritis Walk events, and a physical activity tracker to help keep you moving all year. In addition, safe and effective physical activity arthritis programs taught by trained instructors are offered in many communities.  The Arthritis Foundation sponsors the following programs:

  • The Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program – A program that incorporates gentle movements in a heated pool to help relieve arthritis pain and stiffness, while increasing joint flexibility and range of motion.  
  • The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program – A low-impact, joint-safe land exercise program that helps decrease arthritis pain and relieve stiffness.  
  • Walk with Ease – An exercise program shown to reduce pain and improve health, with strategies for building and maintaining a successful walking routine, that can be done with a group or alone.  

Take Action

For the 50 million Americans and the many more at risk in the United States, the pain, cost and disability of arthritis are unacceptable.  That's why in May – National Arthritis Awareness Month – the Arthritis Foundation is calling on people to take action against arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability.  For information on arthritis and tips on overcoming barriers to physical activity, visit

About the Arthritis Foundation

Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation ( is committed to raising awareness and reducing the impact of this serious, painful and unacceptable disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.

SOURCE The Ad Council

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