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Public Health and Osteoarthritis

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to diseases. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition in the United States, affecting both young and older Americans. According to the US Bone and Joint Initiative, all-cause costs attributed to OA and allied disorders averaged a staggering $486.4 billion annually between 2008 and 2014. In that same period, medical costs attributable to OA averaged $11,052 per person per year.

Public health places an importance on prevention as a means of improving health. There are four key public health strategies that help to delay onset and manage osteoarthritis. Self-management education and physical activity focus primarily on reducing the symptoms and progression of OA for those who have the disease. Injury prevention and weight management may prevent OA from occurring. Learn more about these strategies below and on our oa prevention resource page.

Take part in Arthritis Management Strategies

  • Arthritis management strategies provide those with arthritis with the skills and confidence to effectively manage their condition. This includes programs like Fit and Strong!, Enhanced Fitness, Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Walk With Ease. You can learn about these programs and more on our Living with OA page.

Be Active

  • Research shows physical activity decreases pain, improves function and delays disability. It will not end all the pain you are having but can lower it by up to 40%. Learn how physical activity can help your pain on our Active Living page.

Manage Your Weight

  • Research confirms that maintaining a healthy weight can limit disease progression and activity limitation. Check out our resources on our Weight Management page.

Talk to Your Doctor

  • Early diagnosis and professionally guided management is critical to maintaining a good quality of life. Talk your doctor about a referral to a self-management program. Tip: Check to see if your insurance will cover such lifestyle programs. Learn more here.

Protect Your Joints

  • Sports or occupational based injuries to joints can increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis.  Learn how OA can be prevented on our Prevention Strategies page.

Click here to learn more about Public Health and Arthritis.

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