The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is honored to be part of the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA), a national coalition of concerned organizations mobilized by the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Arthritis is a common cause of adult disability. People with arthritis typically shy away from physical activity, thereby causing their health to spiral downward. Physical inactivity causes significant deconditioning and increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health conditions. As such, people with arthritis should be encouraged to introduce and/or maintain regular physical activity to promote health, as it has been linked with decreased pain, delayed onset of disability, improved physical functioning, aerobic capacity, muscle strength, mood and independence, and, perhaps most importantly, enhanced quality of life.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects 1 in 7 U.S. adults – 32.5 million people. The OAAA is committed to elevating osteoarthritis as a national health priority and promoting effective policy solutions that aim to address the individual and national toll of osteoarthritis. In addition, the OAAA, with the public health community, is working to ensure people with osteoarthritis have the access, skills and capacity to benefit from effective and proven interventions.
In support of the OAAA and its mission to get people moving, ACE is committed to assisting the coalition in their goals of:
- Fostering communities to build capacity to prevent or manage osteoarthritis by disseminating information and resources about effective community interventions and supporting implementation of these interventions;
- Engage individuals with osteoarthritis, their family/friends and caregivers with strategies to minimize disease progression and optimize quality of life through effective strategies such as physical activity, movement, weight management, and self-management education;
- Prevent the onset of osteoarthritis through effective injury prevention and weight management strategies.
Recently, the OAAA shared two resources for stakeholders in the public health community, including exercise professionals and health coaches. These resources include the:
- New! OACareTools, a toolkit for exercise professionals and other health providers who play a critical role in establishing management strategies with individuals that may delay pain and stiffness and retain mobility and function. Contents of this toolkit include educational information that can help empower those with osteoarthritis engage in self-management strategies to complement clinical care. The nine self-paced modules are independently designed such that professionals can engage with the content as their own interests and knowledge gaps guide them, and modules do not need to be viewed consecutively or in any particular order. Within each module, professionals can download a PDF of the content as well as relevant client handouts. Of particular interest for exercise professionals and their clients may be the many community and online resources that are described here.
- Updated National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis (OA Agenda) for 2020, which builds upon the 2010 OA Agenda and lays out a blueprint for the next 5 years with achievable action steps and future research recommendations. Although focused specifically on OA, the updated strategies have wide-ranging applicability to other types of arthritis and chronic conditions. Many adults with OA also have other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Taking steps to prevent and manage OA will have the added multiplier effect of improving the lives of adults with these other chronic diseases.
The public health community and ACE are working together to achieve the vision of a nation in which adults with OA are able to live full lives with less pain, stiffness, and disability; greater mobility; and preserved function and independence.