Physical activity is an important but underused intervention for adults with arthritis, says a report released yesterday by the Arthritis Foundation at a Capitol Hill briefing cosponsored by APTA. Physical activity, the report contends, decreases pain; delays the onset of disability; improves physical functioning, mood and independence; and enhances quality of life, aerobic capacity, and muscle strength.
Reps Anna Eshoo (D-CA) Sue Myrick (R-NC), cochairs of the Congressional Arthritis Caucus, also sponsored the briefing. Myrick attended the briefing, which included speakers Jack Klippel, MD, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation; Wayne Giles, MD, MS, director of the Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Promotion and Health Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Mary Wu, who told her story from a patient perspective; and Zarnaaz Bashir, MPH, director of Strategic Health Initiatives, National Recreation and Parks Association.
Despite the documented benefits of physical activity, adults with arthritis have higher rates of physical inactivity than those without arthritis. Furthermore, the highest rates of physical inactivity are among adults with arthritis and heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, and arthritis and obesity, when compared with adults with none of these conditions. The new APTA-sponsored report, titled Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults With Arthritis, aims to motivate health agencies, business, recreational facilities, and others as partners in providing physical activity opportunities that meet the needs of people with arthritis.
The report also answers the call of the National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis and the Institute of Medicine's recent report Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Action. It outlines an initiative that calls on the nation to address barriers and promote physical activity in a way that is safe, accessible, convenient, and inclusive of adults with arthritis in 6 key sectors—park, recreation, fitness, and sports; business and industry; community and public health; health care; transportation, land use, and community design; and mass media.