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The Steps to Health Randomized Trial for Arthritis
  • Published Date:
    Nov 06 2014
  • Source:
    Am J Prev Med. 48(1):1-12.
Filetype[PDF-1.08 MB]

  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Description:

    Despite the established benefits of exercise for adults with arthritis, participation is low. Safe, evidence-based, self-directed programs, which have the potential for high reach at a low cost, are needed.


    To test a 12-week, self-directed, multicomponent exercise program for adults with arthritis.


    Randomized controlled trial. Data were collected from 2010 to 2012. Data were analyzed in 2013 and 2014.


    Adults with arthritis (N=401, aged 56.3 [10.7] years, 85.8% women, 63.8% white, 35.2% African American, BMI of 33.0 [8.2]) completed measures at a university research center and participated in a self-directed exercise intervention (First Step to Active Health®) or nutrition control program (Steps to Healthy Eating).


    Intervention participants received a self-directed multicomponent exercise program and returned self-monitoring logs for 12 weeks.

    Main outcome measures

    Self-reported physical activity, functional performance measures, and disease-specific outcomes (arthritis symptoms and self-efficacy) assessed at baseline, 12 weeks, and 9 months.


    Participants in the exercise condition showed greater increases in physical activity than those in the nutrition control group (p=0.01). Significant improvements, irrespective of condition, were seen in lower body strength, functional exercise capacity, lower body flexibility, pain, fatigue, stiffness, and arthritis management self-efficacy (p values <0.0001). More adverse events occurred in the exercise than nutrition control condition, but only one was severe and most were expected with increased physical activity.


    The exercise program improves physical activity, and both programs improve functional and psychosocial outcomes. Potential reasons for improvements in the nutrition control condition are discussed. These interventions have the potential for large-scale dissemination. This study is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01172327.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    U48 DP001936/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
    U48-DP-001936/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
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