Study objective: To assess the association between physical activity and health related quality of life (HRQOL) among persons with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms (CJS).
Design: Cross sectional survey investigating the relation between physical activity level and HRQOL. HRQOL was estimated using the number of physically or mentally unhealthy days during the past 30 days. Physical activity was categorised as recommended, insufficient, or inactive according to federal activity recommendations. Persons with arthritis were defined as those with either self reported CJS or doctor diagnosed arthritis.
Setting: Community dwelling, US adults residing in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Participants: Respondents (n = 212 000) in the 2001 behavioral risk factor surveillance system (BRFSS), an annual population based, telephone survey.
Main results: The 33% of BRFSS respondents with arthritis had a mean of 6.7 physically and 4.9 mentally unhealthy days during the past 30 days, compared with 1.8 and 2.7 among those without arthritis. Inactive men and women were 1.2–2.4 times more likely to report impaired HRQOL compared with those who met physical activity recommendations. Men and women who engage in insufficient physical activity also report variably reduced HRQOL.
Conclusions: Among people with arthritis, recommended levels of physical activity were associated with fewer mean physically and mentally unhealthy days and a decreased probability of having severely impaired physical or mental HRQOL.