The Roundup -

Arthritis Affects More People In Rural Communities


August 23, 2017 | View PDF

Over 1 in 3 adults that live in rural areas have arthritis and of those adults, approximately half report having a daily limitation due to their arthritis. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that adults that live in rural areas are more likely to be affected by arthritis than those that in urban areas.

In Montana, more than 1 in 4 adults report having arthritis. Of these adults, a majority of them live in rural areas in Montana.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Service (DPHHS) officials are working with rural communities to offer arthritis approved exercise classes and/or self-management education programs. The Montana Arthritis Program has partnered with sites across Montana to offer exercise programs including the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, Enhance Fitness, and the Walk with Ease program or self-management education programs such as the Active Living Every Day and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

Attending an arthritis exercise class or a self-management education workshop is proven to help individuals manage their arthritis symptoms and to reduce activity limitations from arthritis.

Arthritis symptoms keep thousands of Montanans from engaging in daily routines. “The goal of the Montana Arthritis Program is to help reduce pain, decrease activity limitations, improve physical abilities, and increase confidence to help people manage their arthritis,” DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said. “This program has helped many Montanans with their arthritis and we want to continue to help Montanans to reduce and relieve their arthritis symptoms through these classes.”

Heather Welch, the DPHHS Montana Arthritis Program Manager states that these classes are open to everyone. “Most of the arthritis exercise classes and the self-management workshops are free to attend but there are scholarships available if a site does charge a fee. We do not want cost to be a barrier for anyone to attend one of these beneficial programs.”

To find a class near you or for more information about the Montana Arthritis Program please visit their website at or contact Heather Welch at (406) 444-0958 or


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