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FOR RELEASE: April 6, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

“Physical Activity: The Arthritis Pain Reliever” Campaign Begins
May is National Arthritis Month

The Oklahoma Arthritis Network and Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) are gearing up for a public education effort promoting “Physical Activity: The Arthritis Pain Reliever” to run through April and ending in May, which is National Arthritis Month.

Arthritis and related conditions affect more than 726,000 people in Oklahoma. The economic costs and societal burden related to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in Oklahoma are estimated at $1.42 billion each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The main message of the campaign is that arthritis hurts but physical activity can help,” said OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program Coordinator Marisa New. “Studies show that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity three or more days a week can reduce pain and help you move more easily. If 30 minutes is too much, break it down into 15- minute intervals like a 15-minute walk and then later a 15-minute swim, dance or bike ride. Try to find physical activities you enjoy and can participate in with friends,” New said.

The physical activity campaign wants people to keep moving and wants people to be aware of what types of programs and services are available to help people of all ages who suffer with arthritis. The OSDH is collaborating with the Arthritis Foundation to promote the PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise) exercise classes and the Aquatics Program (water exercise classes) at various locations statewide. More detailed information is available by contacting the Arthritis Foundation, (800) 627-5486 or by visiting their Web site at www.arthritis.org .

Health care officials anticipate that more public health efforts are needed to increase physical activity, maintain healthy weight, and expand the use of self-management education among persons with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. These types of interventions will help reduce costs and improve quality of life.

“An added benefit is that you might lose weight; many chronic health conditions are improved when a person loses weight,” New said.

The campaign will run radio and television ads produced by the CDC, The Arthritis Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A national grant is paying for the campaign in Oklahoma to help get the health messages out to the public.

Business owners within the Oklahoma City metropolitan area who wish to participate in the campaign can order “Don’t Sit Still for Arthritis” and “What to Take for Arthritis Pain” posters and brochures to display in their businesses. Contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health at (405) 271-6127 or download the materials from the state health department Web site at www.health.state.ok.us/program/apep .

The Oklahoma Arthritis Network (OAN) meets regularly to address how partners statewide can work together to meet goals addressed in the Oklahoma Arthritis Action Plan (www.health.state.ok.us/program/apep ). OAN partners include: the Arthritis Foundation, the Oklahoma Lupus Association, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma Areawide Services Information System (OASIS), YMCA, local churches and many others.

To join the OAN or for information about arthritis, contact the OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program at 405/271-9444, ext. 56410.

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