Arthritis and the Public Health Burden

The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and its stakeholders, group arthritis with two other conditions, osteoporosis and chronic back conditions in terms of developing objectives, interventions and resources (ODPHP).

There are many types of arthritis, each having its own mode of treatment and prevention.Osteoarthritiscan be minimized by keeping extra weight off of the joints; i.e., keeping one’s body at a healthy weight (Arthritis Foundation). Therefore, any of the federal, state and local efforts to reduce obesity would dovetail with the prevention of some cases of osteoarthritis (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2017).

Aquatic exercise is recommended as an enjoyable way to lose weight while minimizing pressure on joints according to Emilio B. Gonzalez, MD, chief of rheumatology at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (Mann).

In addition, since osteoarthritis sets in frequently on previously injured joints, especially knees, injury prevention is critical. This is why some high schools have begun participating in Knee Injury Prevention Program for Coaches instituted by the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (Esposito, 2014). This program helps coaches make sure their student athletes have the proper equipment and are using good body mechanics.

Beyond prevention is arthritis management, i.e. to keep the symptoms as minimal as possible. Healthy People 2020 recommends self-management programs developed at Stanford (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

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