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South Carolina Arthritis Prevention and Control Program

Arthritis Awareness Month Proclamation Places Arthritis in the Limelight

Issue

Arthritis is one of the nation’s most common chronic diseases and the leading cause of disability.  It affects approximately 46 million US adults and limits mobility for 19 million of them.  Risk factors are insufficient physical activity, joint injuries, and being overweight.

In South Carolina, arthritis affects 30% of adults of all ages.  Nearly 60% of those 65 and older have some form of arthritis.  In 2007, there were approximately 15,442 discharges from South Carolina hospitals with a primary diagnosis code for arthritis. The discharges amounted to approximately 56,547 days of care and $675 million in charges. 

With the aging population, the prevalence and impact of arthritis is expected to continue to increase unless prompt action is taken.  Public health should be at the forefront to make legislators and decision makers aware of arthritis data and prevention approaches.  Prevention programs can improve the quality of life for people with arthritis and make it possible for them to age in place in their own communities.

Intervention

In conjunction with National Arthritis Month, Governor Mark Sanford proclaimed May 2010 as Arthritis Awareness Month in South Carolina.  The South Carolina Arthritis Prevention and Control Program Advisory Council, the Arthritis Foundation, and state-level and community partners worked together to make legislators, other decision makers, and the general public more aware of the burden and impact of arthritis in South Carolina. Additionally, they provided information about low-cost, proven interventions to address this serious public health problem.

Activities:

  • State and local press releases announcing May as Arthritis Awareness in South Carolina, and highlighting arthritis data and prevention approaches
  • Letters inviting legislators to participate in an Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program in their respective districts, including facts about arthritis in South Carolina
  • Legislators and public officials participating in Arthritis Foundation Exercise classes and arthritis awareness events
  • Radio talk show engagements to promote Arthritis Awareness Month
  • Website postings highlighting the proclamation along with special events and activities.
  • A banner on the Agency website promoting physical activity as a prevention approach

Impact

  • Increased awareness by decision makers and the public about the prevalence and impact of arthritis in South Carolina and prevention approaches to address arthritis
  • Heightened awareness by legislators and public officials about the importance of exercise as a method to prevent and control arthritis
  • Greater visibility of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program
  • Enhanced collaboration with the Arthritis Advisory Council members and partners