- Community and Public Health
- Health care
- Transportation, Land Use and Community Design
- Business and Industry
- Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sports
- Mass Media and Communications
The report outlines a number of strategies that the sectors can undertake to ensure it's inclusive of people with arthritis. These strategies build on the Americans with Disabilities Act and other legislation to remove barriers to physical activity, as well as initiate environmental and policy strategies that can help people with mobility issues increase activity. Dr. White explains that "the focus is on how to live well with arthritis and be productive in society."
The top priorities were identified based on initiatives that are practical, doable within a few years and likely to have the most significant impact for adults with arthritis. As the six sectors develop initiatives, the combined impact of changes within each could have a profound impact on the health and wellness of people with arthritis.
For instance, the suggested initiatives for the sectors include health care professionals asking people with arthritis about physical activity at every medical visit (Health care) and referring them to evidence-based physical activity programs in the community (Community and Public Health). Another initiative could be increasing the length of time that the light of a crosswalk is green (Transportation, Land Use and Community Design), allowing people with arthritis to walk across the park, on the other side of the street. At this park, Parks and Recreation staff would have received training in how to make their physical activity programs inclusive of people with mobility issues, as well as more accessible park design (Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sport). Worksite wellness programs should be designed in such a way that they are inclusive of employees with arthritis (Business and Industry). Mass Media and Communications would engage in outreach, signage and promotion of evidence-based physical activity programs.
There are challenges to implementing the recommendations in the Foundation's report. However, Dr. White emphasized that economically difficult periods are "the time to collaborate and use resources effectively and in new ways." By working together, sectors can support each other's initiatives and do more with less to make it easier for people with arthritis to get physically active. Doing so will have a tremendous impact on the economic health of society, as well as that of individuals with arthritis, enabling them to once again participate and contribute.
A list of evidence-based physical activity programs is available in Appendix B of The Arthritis Foundation report (pdf).
William Carroll, MA and Jeffrey Rhoades, PhD, Statistical Brief #364: Obesity in America: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population Age 20 and Older, 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, March, 2012.