MAOP Press Release – Arthritis Action Month 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    Contact: Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program

May 5, 2014                                                       (888) 702-8818

Ready . . . Set . . . Action!  Take Steps to Better Health In May During Arthritis Action Month.

Nationally, Arthritis Action Month is celebrated each May.  Throughout May 2014, Missouri will join other states in raising awareness about the various forms of arthritis.  This month is a great time for individuals to make personal action plans to help change the course of their arthritis.  Evidence shows that self-management education and physical activities can help reduce pain, increase mobility and improve the quality of life for adults with arthritis.  You may find your first step to better health is to learn more about arthritis and to understand what other things are connected to this chronic health condition.

Individuals with arthritis may have another chronic health condition, like diabetes or heart disease.  Adults with arthritis may also have other risk factors that are known to be linked with arthritis, such as obesity, physically inactivity, and smoking.  A connection that is not as well known, is adults with arthritis have a higher prevalence (it is more common) than adults without arthritis of falling once, more than once or being injured from a fall.  Friday, May 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released information in their MMWR report that it was especially more common for Missouri adults with arthritis to fall more than two times in a year or to have injuries from their fall than Missouri adults without arthritis (BRFSS, 2012).  For adults with arthritis who have this greater risk of falls, it is important to take steps to better health.

One step you can take to improve your health is to join an existing physical activity program.  According to the CDC, effective interventions to prevent falls can come in multiple steps, but the most effective strategies involve exercise or physical therapy.  Physical activities that specifically address improving gait, balance and lower body strength have been shown to reduce the risk of falls (CDC).  Through its seven Regional Arthritis Centers (RACs), the Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program (MAOP) offers two physical activity programs locally around the state. 

The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is a group format course offered by trained leaders in six-week increments, meeting two to three times per week.  Some sites choose to offer the program year round to participants.  Topics covered include: range-of-motion, flexibility, balance, strengthening and endurance-building activities; relaxation techniques; and health education topics.

The Walk With Ease program is offered in group or independent formats.  In the group course, trained leaders work with participants three times a week over the course of six weeks.  For the independent course, individuals use a workbook three times a week over a six-week period.  Topics include pain management; walking routine development; stretching, warming up and cooling down.

All courses are offered year-round and are designed for individuals with risk factors for, including physical inactivity and falls, or with chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes and heart disease.  Courses meet participants at their personal level – whether newly diagnosed, with a controlled condition, or not yet diagnosed.  Individuals with multiple chronic health conditions may find additional benefit from these courses as they learn how their conditions interact and can impact their overall health.  Self-management courses can also be beneficial for caregivers or family of those with chronic conditions or at risk of falling.

For a complete schedule of courses offered and to learn more, click on your region at:  If a course isn’t listed in your area, contact your RAC by calling the toll-free line at 1-888-702-8818 or via the website at to begin a group or get added to a waiting list.  You can also contact your RAC to find out more about becoming a program leader. Find out more about MAOP programs by checking out our Facebook page at



Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program
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