Effectiveness of two evidence-based programs in participants with arthritis: Findings from the active for life initiative


  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or institution affiliated with the authors.



Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US. Strong evidence suggests that physical activity (PA) is beneficial to those with arthritis. This study examined whether changes in PA and PA-related outcomes from two general evidence-based PA programs (Active Choices [AC] and Active Living Every Day [ALED]) differed in participants with and without arthritis.


Active for Life was a 4-year, multicenter, translational initiative that evaluated the effects of AC and ALED on PA and PA-related outcomes. Participants self-reported arthritis, PA, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and satisfaction with body appearance and function. A subset of participants completed functional fitness tests.


Participants (n = 2,413 AC, n = 3,191 ALED) completed at least one outcome measure; 619 ALED participants completed at least one functional fitness test. Significant improvements in all PA and PA-related outcomes were seen for people with and without arthritis with the exception of depressive symptoms and perceived stress, which only improved in ALED participants. In general, effect sizes were similar for those with and without arthritis.


ALED and AC, both general behavioral PA programs, produced positive and meaningful changes in PA and a number of PA-related behaviors in participants with and without arthritis, pointing to the potential appropriateness of these evidence-based programs for people with arthritis.