268318 African Americans and the effects of The Arthritis Foundation's (AF) Walk with Ease (WWE) Program

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brooke Wyatt, BA , Epidemiology, George Washington University School of Public Health, Washington, DC
Chivon Mingo, PhD , UNC Institute on Aging, Chapel Hill, NC
Mary B. Waterman, MPH , Public Health Department, Arthritis Foundation, Washington, DC
Patience White, MD , Public Health Department, Arthritis Foundation, Washington, DC
Leigh F. Callahan, PhD , Orthopedics and Social Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
BACKGROUND: Inadequate health literacy and lack of access to evidence-based programs have been identified as major barriers to the management of chronic diseases such as arthritis, particularly for minorities. In comparison to Whites, African Americans (AA) fare worse from arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the US, expressing more severe symptoms (e.g., pain, functional limitation). Using a group or self-directed format, the Arthritis Foundation's Walk with Ease program seeks to lessen functional limitations and pain for people with arthritis. Previous studies have shown WWE to be effective among the population reached; however, it is unclear if AA benefit equally. This study examined WWE to determine if significant barriers/disparities exist amongst AA in relation to program format (i.e., group, self-directed), physical improvement and satisfaction.

METHODS: Through a retrospective cohort study, 462 participants with self-reported arthritis were identified as eligible to participate in the study. Of this 116 were AA. Performance and self-reported outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks (pre/post intervention) and self-reported again at one-year follow-up. Independent samples t-tests and linear regression models were examined to determine the nature of the relationships.

RESULTS: AA participants were satisfied with the overall program (p<.0001) and showed some physical improvements. Participants reported statistically significant weight loss at one year (p<.0001) and decrease in arthritis related pain and symptoms based on the Visual analog Scale (VAS) (p<.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest the WWE program could serve as a catalyst for improving disparities in self-management education by providing free, optionally individualized, and culturally appropriate resources.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
-Review the impacts of arthritis on minority populations -Evaluate the benefits and effects of WWE in promoting physical activity -Discuss the outcomes of the study in working to decrease the overall burden of arthritis.

Keywords: Health Disparities, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the principal investigator on the study. Within my educational career I have achieved a BA in biological anthropology and am currently pursing an MPH, Epidemiology with a background in Health Disparities and Minority based interventions and best practices.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.