NACDD Expands Commitment to Improve Arthritis Self-Management Behaviors

Impact Brief October 2021

In September 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Arthritis Program awarded NACDD funds to implement two large projects under a new five-year cooperative agreement. As part of Advancing Arthritis Public Health Priorities through National Organizations,NACDD is committed to growing and diversifying its arthritis portfolio. The first project focuses on addressing arthritis through technical assistance and support and leveraging partners and networks to promote arthritis-appropriate evidence-based interventions (AAEBI). This work will collectively improve arthritis self-management behaviors among adults with arthritis while improving social and physical environments. NACDD is excited to lead this work in collaboration with the CDC-funded state arthritis programs and national organizations.

The second project focuses on developing and implementing an evidence-informed healthcare provider approach to conduct function, pain, and physical activity assessments; patient counseling on the benefits of physical activity; and referrals to arthritis-appropriate physical activity and self-management programs. NACDD is partnering with Leavitt Partners, Medscape, an Advisory Council of subject matter experts, and several large health systems in the U.S. to carry out this work. 

Arthritis is a leading contributor to chronic disease burden and a top cause of morbidity, work limitations, and reduced quality of life. More than 54 million U.S. adults have arthritis, half of whom are of working age, and 78 million are projected to have it by 2040. People with arthritis face barriers to physical activity such as fear of worsening arthritis pain and progression. However, arthritis and its limitations can be managed effectively, and symptoms improved, through routine physical activity and participation in self-management education programs. Low-cost AAEBIs are shown to decrease arthritis pain and/or disability and improve quality of life.

National Arthritis Partner Tools and Resources:

  • Arthritis Foundation’s Arthritis@Work is a free Arthritis Foundation program that offers turnkey tools and resources to support employees with arthritis as part of existing worksite wellness programs. Arthritis@Work can be coupled with other evidence-based strategies, such as Walk With Ease, to offer a tailored solution to improve musculoskeletal health.
  • Vim is a new Arthritis Foundation app that helps people with arthritis set attainable goals, manage chronic pain, and give/get encouragement.
  • The National Recreation and Park Association recently highlighted services they provide to older adults in the monthly publication Parks and Recreation: A Vital Community-Based Solution to Support Healthy Aging.
  • The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosts Remain in the Game: A Joint Effort, a 10 minute, 2-3 times per week program that provides step-by-step exercises to protect joints, improve performance, and reduce the risk of traumatic knee injury. The program was developed by physical therapists and athletic trainers and is endorsed by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
  • The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance worked with the Arthritis Foundation and CDC to develop Action Briefs for seven sectors including public health, employers, and healthcare systems. These briefs take the strategies identified in the 2020 A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis and put them into a digestible format to promote uptake and implementation. 
  • YMCA of the USA “Y”: For more than 150 years, Ys have been working to meet the needs of the communities they serve. To support individuals living with arthritis, Ys began delivering AAEBIs like EnhanceFitness. Find program locations or reach out to a Y in your community.

Learn more about NACDD’s Arthritis Portfolio.

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