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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
February 1, 2012

State-Specific Prevalence of No Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Adults With and Without Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis—United States, 2009

JAMA. 2012;307(5):447-449. doi:

MMWR. 2011;60:1641-1645

1 figure, 1 table omitted

The prevalence of no leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) among U.S. residents decreased from 31% in 1989 to 25% in 2002 and was still at 25% in 2008, based on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data. Further reduction in the prevalence of no LTPA among all adults might be hindered by population subgroups that have exceptionally high rates of no LTPA, such as adults with arthritis. Approximately 50 million adults have arthritis, the majority of whom have arthritis-specific barriers to being physically active, such as pain and fear of making their arthritis worse.1,2 Despite the known benefits of physical activity for arthritis (e.g., reduced pain), persons with arthritis are more likely to report no LTPA.3-5 To assess state-specific prevalence of no LTPA among adults with and without doctor-diagnosed arthritis, CDC analyzed BRFSS data from 2009. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which found that among adults with arthritis (1) prevalence of no LTPA is significantly higher compared with adults without arthritis in every state and the District of Columbia (DC), (2) the disparity in prevalence of no LTPA between adults with and without arthritis is large (median: 53% disparity gap), (3) 23 (45%) states had an age-standardized prevalence of no LTPA ≥30.0%, and (4) adults with arthritis reporting no LTPA comprised a substantial proportion (median: 35.2%) of all adults reporting no LTPA in each state. To reduce the prevalence of no LTPA among all adults, physical activity promotion initiatives should include interventions such as targeted health communication campaigns and community-based group exercise programs proven safe and effective for adults with arthritis.

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