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Health Indicator Report of Arthritis and Activity Limitation

Arthritis is a common and disabling chronic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults limited by arthritis has significantly increased in the past two decades. Daily activities, such as holding a cup or walking up stairs, are limited for 24 million adults due to their arthritis.[ 1] Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are a leading cause of work disability.[ 2] Adults with arthritis are less likely to be working than those without arthritis. Monitoring the prevalence of arthritis-attributable activity limitation among adults is important for estimating the need for intervention programs to reduce the disabling effects of arthritis, and to estimate how well existing intervention programs are working. These programs include self-management education programs and physical activity programs that have been shown to reduce pain and costs as well as improve physical function, mental health, and quality of life. Arthritis-attributable activity limitation can be prevented or reduced in many persons. For example, aerobic and strengthening exercises can improve physical function and self-reported disability among older adults with disabilities. In addition, for persons with arthritis who are not limited in activity, regular physical activity can reduce the risk for functional activity limitation. Arthritis self-management education classes can also reduce pain and disability.
Crude percentage of adults reporting activity limitation due to their arthritis.

Percentage of Utah Adults With Arthritis Who Reported Limiting Their Usual Activities due to Arthritis by Age and Sex, 2017


Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is self-reported in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and was not confirmed by a health-care provider. However, such self-reports have been shown to be acceptable for surveillance purposes. Activity limitation is also self-reported.

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health


Utah adults 18 years of age and older with doctor-diagnosed arthritis who report limiting any activities because of their arthritis.


Respondents who answered "Yes" to the following Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System question were included in the numerator: "Are you now limited in any way in any activities because of arthritis or joint symptoms?" Responses of "Don't know/Not sure", "Refused", and those with "Missing" responses were excluded.


Number of respondents who reported being told by a healthcare professional they had some form of arthritis. Responses of "Don't know/Not sure" or "Refused", and those with "Missing" responses were excluded.

Healthy People Objective AOCBC-2:

Reduce the proportion of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis who experience a limitation in activity due to arthritis or joint symptoms
U.S. Target: 35.5 percent
State Target: 37.0 percent

Other Objectives

Healthy People 2020 Objective AOCBC-7.2: Increase the proportion of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis who receive health care provider counseling for physical activity or exercise.[[br]] '''U.S. Target:''' 45.3 percent

How Are We Doing?

The 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey revealed that half (50.3 percent) of Utah adults with arthritis (crude rate) are limited in their usual activities due to their arthritis. Males have slightly lower rates of activity limitation due to their arthritis (46.4 percent) compared to females (53.2 percent). Despite the known benefits of exercise for persons with arthritis, in 2017, half (49.9 percent) of Utah adults with arthritis reported they did not meet the recommended requirements for aerobic physical activity, and 25.6 percent reported that they did not participate in exercise or physical activity in the past month (i.e. were physically inactive).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

In 2017, the age-adjusted rate of activity limitation due to arthritis was 52.0 percent in Utah, which was slightly better than the U.S. rate of 54.2 percent. Because age affects the likelihood of having arthritis, it is beneficial to adjust for the effect of age when comparing populations. This method helps to determine if a certain population has a factor, which contributes to arthritis more than the effect of age. Therefore, these data were adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Arthritis Program focuses on measuring the occurrence of arthritis in Utah, increasing arthritis awareness and educational opportunities, and promoting participation in programs proven to help persons with arthritis, pain, and other chronic conditions. Additionally, the Utah Arthritis Program supports health systems, clinics, and physicians use strategies and resources that support healthcare provider-patient counseling to increase physical activity and referrals to the evidence-based workshops and classes. Physicians can use the [ Living Well physician portal] to refer patients to the evidence-based classes.

Evidence-based Practices

The Utah Arthritis Program partners with healthcare, nonprofit, and government organizations across Utah to deliver evidence-based workshops to help people better manage arthritis, pain, and other chronic conditions. Schedules and locations of these workshops can be found at []. The UAP recommends and supports the *Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs, EnhanceFitness, Walk With Ease, Living Well with a Disability, and the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program which have been proven to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis and other chronic conditions. *Chronic Disease Self-Management programs include:[[br]] - Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) as known as Living Well with Chronic Conditions[[br]] - Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) also known as Living Well with Diabetes[[br]] - Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP) also known as Living Well with Chronic Pain[[br]] - Tomando Control de su Salud (Spanish CDSMP)[[br]] - Better Choices Better Health (online CDSMP)[[br]] [[br]] For additional information on these programs visit [] or [].

Available Services

To find and register for an evidence-based program in your area please visit:[[br]] [][[br]] or call the Health Resource Line at:[[br]] 1-888-222-2542[[br]] [[br]] Utah Department of Health Arthritis Program[[br]] Bureau of Health Promotion[[br]] P.O. Box 142107[[br]] Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2107[[br]] (801) 538-9458[[br]] [][[br]] [[br]] Arthritis Foundation Great West Region[[br]] 448 East 400 South, Suite 103[[br]] Salt Lake City, Utah 84111[[br]] (801) 536-0990[[br]] [[br]] Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services[[br]] Department of Human Resources[[br]] 195 N. 1950 W.[[br]] SLC, Utah 84116[[br]] (801) 538-3910[[br]] [][[br]] [[br]] University of Utah[[br]] Department of Immunology and Rheumatology[[br]] School of Medicine[[br]] 50 North Medical Drive[[br]] Salt Lake City, Utah 84132[[br]] (801) 581-7724[[br]] [[br]] The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital[[br]] 5770 S. 300 E.[[br]] Murray, Utah 84123[[br]] (801) 314-4100[[br]] [][[br]] [[br]] Salt Lake County Aging Services[[br]] 2001 S. State[[br]] Salt Lake City, Utah 84190-2300[[br]] (385) 468-3200

Health Program Information

The vision of the Utah Arthritis Program is to increase self-management skills and improve the quality of life for all Utahns affected by arthritis and other chronic conditions. The Utah Arthritis Program provides technical assistance and coordination to increase awareness, expand reach, and achieve sustainability of evidence-based self-management programs for all Utahns affected by arthritis and other chronic conditions through statewide partnerships. Contact for questions about providing, referring, or increasing physician counseling for patients into the evidence-based programs.
Page Content Updated On 11/26/2018, Published on 02/07/2019
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Wed, 05 August 2020 4:18:45 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:27 MDT