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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2010

Be on the move during Arthritis Awareness Month

COLUMBIA - Exercise programs are underway in recognition of Arthritis Awareness month to increase awareness of arthritis, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

“The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is designed especially for people with arthritis,” said Cora Plass, director of DHEC’s Office of Healthy Aging. “Research shows physical activity can reduce pain and depression, improve function, increase social activity, and build self-confidence in someone's ability to manage arthritis. DHEC, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Lt. Governor's Office on Aging are working together with many community partners throughout the state to expand this and other proven prevention programs for people with arthritis and other chronic conditions.”

Plass said nearly one million adults in South Carolina have arthritis. Of those, more than a third are limited in their daily activities by arthritis.

“Arthritis affects almost 30 percent of South Carolina’s population, and almost 60 percent of those 65 and over,” she said. “More than $650 million are spent on arthritis-related hospitalizations in the state annually, including more than $300 million for knee replacement surgery.”

Plass said DHEC's program recommends participating in physical activity as a way of reducing arthritis pain.

“One of the challenges is that many people who would most benefit from physical activity are the least likely to be physically active. Of adults with arthritis, 21 percent report they are inactive and another 41 percent don’t get enough physical activity. This becomes more apparent among older adults. In the 65 and older age group, only one in three people with arthritis report enough physical activity to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for minimum levels of physical activity to maintain good health,” she said.

To learn more about arthritis and the month’s activities, go to DHEC’s website at http://www.scdhec.gov/arthritis

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For more information:
Thom Berry - (803) 898-3885
E-mail - berrytw@dhec.sc.gov
BNR1981