Current policies, calls to action, legislative position statements, guidelines, and public health agendas from various OAAA members and government agencies.


Calls to Action and Public Health Agendas

  • National Physical Activity Plan – The 2016 Plan is a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives designed to increase physical activity in all segments of the U.S. population. The Plan aims to foster a national culture that supports physically active lifestyles. Its ultimate purpose is to improve health, prevent disease and disability, and enhance quality of life.
  • Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 – The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines is designed to help Americans eat a healthier diet. Intended for policymakers and health professionals, this edition of the Dietary Guidelines outlines how people can improve their overall eating patterns — the complete combination of foods and drinks in their diet.
  • Arthritis Foundation: The Arthritis Foundation is working to conquer this debilitating disease and make a positive impact on the lives of people with arthritis, pushing for policies and laws that make health care more accessible

Osteoarthritis is just one of the many forms of arthritis, and more than half of the 54million people with arthritis have OA.

Quick facts that capture the scope, impact, and burden of OA and arthritis.

  • OA is on the rise.Currently, more than 30.8 million adults have OA,2a number expected to increase dramatically as the 78.4 million Baby Boomers age.3It is estimated that two-thirds of obese adults will develop knee OA at some point in their life, so rates of OA4will increase with the obesity epidemic.
  • OA disproportionately affects women and minorities.More women than men have OA, particularly after age 50. Documented disparities include significantly greater adverse effects (activity limitation, work limitation, and severe pain) due to OA among Black compared to non-Hispanic white populations, despite equivalent OA prevalence between the two groups. Of increased concern, African Americans receive 39% fewer total knee replacements than whites5despite similar levels of severe OA.
  • OA severely limits productivity. Approximately 30% of adults age 18 to 64 with doctor-diagnosed arthritis report an arthritis-attributable work limitation,6including working less or not working at all. Much of this is due to OA.
  • OA limits physical activity and complicates management of other chronic diseases.More than half of all adults with diabetes or heart disease also have arthritis. Nearly one-third of adults with obesity also had arthritis.1OA pain, or fear of pain, causes many people to be sedentary, even though physical activity is an important management strategy for OA and these other chronic illnesses.
  • OA escalates health care costs for individuals, employers, and payers. In 2010-11, OA contributed to more than 21 million physician and outpatient visits, 6.7 million hospitalizations and 1.4 million total joint replacements. Despite a decline in length of hospital stay (mean of 9 days in 1992 to 3.5 days in 2010), USBJI reports that “total hospitalization charges for both knee replacements have more than quadrupled (in constant 2011 dollars) from $8.1 billion in 1998 to $38.5 billion in 2011.”7 The annual direct medical costs attributable to arthritis are approximately $81 billion in the United States.8
  • Managing Arthritis.  Although medications can help with arthritis pain, physical activity, and weight management are effective methods. Physical activity can reduce pain and improve physical function by approximatley 40%.1 Self-management education workshops can help reduce pain, fatigue, and depression by 10% to 20%. However, only 11% had taken a self-management education workshop9. Adults with Arthritis are more likely to attend a self-management education program when it is recommended by a healthcare provider.


  1. Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Boring M, Brady TJ. Vital Signs: Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2013–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:246–253. DOI:
  2. Cisternas MG, Murthy L, Sacks JJ, Solomon DH, Pasta DJ, Helmick CG. Alternative Methods for Defining Osteoarthritis and the Impact on Estimating Prevalence in a US Population-Based Survey. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 May;68(5):574-80.
  3. Bitton, R. (2009). The economic burden of osteoarthritis. Am J Manag Care, 15(8 Suppl), S230-S235.
  4. Murphy L, Schwartz TA, Helmick CG, Renner JB, Tudor G, Koch G, et al. Lifetime risk of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism2008:59(9):1207-1213.
  5. Cisternas MG, Murphy L, Croft JB, Helmick CG. Racial disparities in total knee replacement among Medicare enrollees–United States 2000-2006. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report2009;58(6):133-138.
  6. Theis KA, Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Yelin E. Prevalence and correlates of arthritis-attributable work limitation in the US population among persons ages 18-64: 2002 National Health Interview Survey Data. Arthritis Care & Research2007;57(3):355-363.
  7. United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS), Third Edition, 2014. Rosemont, IL. Available at Accessed on August 25, 2016.
  8. Yelin E, Murphy L, Cisternas MG, Foreman AJ, Pasta DJ, Helmick CG. Medical care expenditures and earnings losses among persons with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in 2003, and comparisons with 1997. Arthritis Rheum 2007;56:1397–407. CrossRefPubMed
  9. Murphy, L. B., Brady, T. J., Boring, M. A., Theis, K. A., Barbour, K. E., Qin, J., & Helmick, C. G. (2016). Self-management education participation among US adults with arthritis: Whos attending? Arthritis Care & Research. doi:10.1002/acr.23129