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Chronic Illn. 2010 Dec;6(4):272-81. doi: 10.1177/1742395309351243. Epub 2010 Aug 9.

Increasing physical activity in patients with arthritis: a tailored health promotion program.

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Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 345 E. Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.



Despite recent studies showing the benefit of physical activity for people with arthritis, the vast majority of persons with arthritis are not sufficiently physically active. The purpose of this report is to describe a tailored health promotion intervention aimed at increasing physical activity among persons with arthritis. The intervention is designed to be useful for health systems and insurers interested in a chronic disease management program that could be disseminated to large populations of arthritis patients.


The intervention is carried out by a clinician who is designated as the client's physical activity advocate. The approach emphasizes motivational interviewing, individualized goal setting, tailored strategies for increasing physical activity and for monitoring progress, and a plan of 2 years of follow-up. The intervention includes a standardized assessment of barriers to and strengths supporting increased lifestyle physical activity. A randomized, controlled trial is underway to evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of this intervention.


This intervention is unique in that it implements a program tailored to the individual that focuses on lifestyle physical activity and long-term monitoring. The approach recognizes that persons with arthritis present with varying levels of motivation for change in physical activity and that behavior change can take a long time to become habitual.

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