Arthritis is Unacceptable.
That's quite a statement, isn't it? It's the philosophy guiding The Arthritis Foundation's efforts during National Arthritis Awareness Month. It's why the motto for 2011 campaign is Take Action!
Consider the numbers:
Arthritis costs the economy $128 billion annually,
Almost 300,000 children live with juvenile arthritis
By 2030, 67 million Americans are projected to have arthritis
The consequences of not taking action are devastating. Arthritis takes a deep toll on the people who live with it - physically, emotionally and financially. Arthritis has a significant impact on the economy and affect the health of our nation's, as well. This is why arthritis is unacceptable. It's why The Arthritis Foundation works in advocacy and fundraising to support research and development of medications that can control and some day cure arthritis. Until that day happens, the Foundation also supports those of us who live with arthritis with services and programs.
I recently spoke to Dr. Patience White, VP of Public Health with The Arthritis Foundation. Have you wanted to find an exercise in support program for people living with arthritis? Wondered how you could get involved in advocacy? Then read on!
Goals & Accomplishments
The Arthritis Foundation is a federated foundation composed of a national office and 10 regional offices. They work closely together to further the Foundations mission of preventing, controlling and curing arthritis.
When I asked what their greatest accomplishments were, Dr. White had several candidates. The Arthritis Foundation was instrumental in developing the first national Arthritis Action Plan and helped lobby for an Arthritis Branch in the National Institutes of Health. As well, they have developed an Osteoarthritis Public Health Agenda and organize an annual national conference for juvenile arthritis, this year held in Washington July 8-10, 2011. They're also the #1 not-for-profit funder of arthritis research, having contributed over $400 million for this important work.
What They Do
In addition to developing policy and funding research, The Arthritis Foundation also provides services and programs for people living with different types of arthritis. Dr. White emphasized that the Foundation's programs are evidence-based, which means they are tested for efficacy the same way medications are tested. These studies have proven the programs help people feel better and have better function even a year after taking the classes! These programs include:
- The Exercise Program is developed specifically for people living with arthritis and uses gentle exercise to increase flexibility and function
- The Aquatic Program. Water-based exercise can be very beneficial for people living with arthritis. The Aquatic Program is developed in cooperation with the YMCA
- Tai Chi can help improve quality of life, balance and combat stress
- The Self-Help Program is taught by certified leaders, many of whom have arthritis themselves. It helps the participants navigate the healthcare system and handle day-to-day challenges
- Walking can be a terrific way of getting gentle exercise and the Walk with Ease Program can help you make the first steps towards making walking a habit