Arthritis as a potential barrier to physical activity among adults with diabetes: United States, 2005 and 2007 – Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 2008

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The American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine agree that increasing physical activity among persons with diabetes is an important public health goal to: 1) reduce blood glucose and risk factors for complications (e.g., obesity and hypertension) in persons with diabetes, and 2) improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. Among adults with diabetes, co-occurring arthritis might present an underrecognized barrier to increasing physical activity, but to date this has not been directly studied.

To estimate the prevalence of 1) diagnosed arthritis among adults with diabetes and 2) physical inactivity among adults with diabetes by arthritis status, CDC analyzed combined 2005 and 2007 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that:

1. Arthritis prevalence was 52% among adults with diagnosed diabetes and

2. The prevalence of physical inactivity was higher among adults with diabetes and arthritis (29.8%) compared with adults with diabetes alone (21.0%), an association that was independent of age, sex, or body mass index (BMI).

The higher prevalence of physical inactivity among adults who have both diabetes and arthritis suggests that arthritis might be an additional barrier to increasing physical activity.

Health-care providers and public health agencies should consider addressing this barrier with arthritis-specific or general evidence-based self-management and exercise programs.

Source: MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. May 2008. 9;57(18):486-9. PMID: 18463606, Bolen J, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

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