New CDC Study Finds Arthritis Can be a Barrier for Adults Seeking to Manage Diabetes through Physical Activity
More than half of adults with diagnosed diabetes also have arthritis, a painful condition that can be a barrier to physical activityâ€”an important health strategy for managing diabetes, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Nationwide, 46.4 million adults have arthritis and 20.6 million adults have diabetes, with nearly 7 in 10 having had diabetes diagnosed by a health professional. Research shows that engaging in joint-friendly activities such as walking, swimming, biking can help manage both conditions.
The study, "Arthritis as a Potential Barrier to Physical Activity among Adults with Diabetes: United States, 2005 and 2007," analyzed data on the prevalence of physical inactivity among adults with arthritis and diabetes in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
The study suggests that the presence of arthritis acts as an additional barrier to physical activity among those with diabetes. The study found that 29.8 percent of adults with arthritis and diabetes were inactive, compared with 21.0 percent of people with diabetes alone, 17.3 percent of those with arthritis alone, and 10.9 percent of adults with neither condition.
The study also found that the percentage of adults with diabetes and arthritis who are physically inactive varied among states, ranging from 20.2 percent in California to 46.4 percent in Tennessee.
"People who have arthritis, diabetes or both benefit from being physically active," said Janet Collins, Ph.D., director, CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. "We know it can be difficult, but regular physical activity helps in many ways. For people with diabetes, physical activity helps control blood glucose and risk factors for complications. For people with arthritis, physical activity reduces pain, and improves function."
Adults with arthritis and diabetes have unique barriers to being physically active such as concerns about pain, aggravating or worsening joint damage, and not knowing how much or what types of physical activity are safe for them. These concerns must be addressed for adults with both conditions to become more physically active.
"These findings suggest more needs to be done to help people with diabetes and arthritis get physically active to improve their health," said Chad Helmick, M.D., a CDC medical epidemiologist and co-author on the study. "Engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate the pain and disability that often accompany arthritis."
Disease self-management classes, including exercise programs that address arthritis-specific barriers, may help adults with arthritis and diabetes better manage their disease. Programs proven to be effective in managing arthritis, such as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, the Arthritis Foundation's Exercise Program, and Enhance Fitness, are available in many local communities nationwide. For more information, visit CDC's Arthritis Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/intervention.
For general information about diabetes, visit CDC's Diabetes Public Health Resource Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES