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Abstract

Objective

To conduct an exploratory evaluation of the impact of the Arthritis Foundation's evidence-based Walk With Ease (WWE) program on work place activity limitations of adults with self-reported or doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Methods

WWE participants who were self-identified as “employed” completed the Workplace Activity Limitation Scale (WALS) at 6-week (postintervention; n = 94) and 1-year followup (n = 69). Paired t-tests were used to determine whether reduced work place limitations were reported at 6 weeks and maintained at 1-year followup.

Results

Participants were on average age 55 years, 88% women, and 61% white. The mean body mass index was 32 kg/m2, and 81% had more than a high school education. Overall WALS scores improved significantly from a mean ± SD of 6.7 ± 3.99 at baseline to 5.5 ± 4.20 at 6-week followup (P < 0.001, effect size 0.30). Improvements were maintained at 1-year followup, i.e., no change from 6-week followup (P = 0.87). Work place activities reported by participants as “some” or “a lot” of difficulty at baseline, i.e., “crouch/bend/kneel/work in awkward positions,” “stand for long periods,” and “lift/carry/move objects,” showed some of the highest improvements at 6 weeks. “Concentrate/keep your mind on the job” also improved significantly, although it was not rated as a substantial difficulty at baseline.

Conclusion

Our study provides encouraging evidence that WWE, a brief, low-cost, and easy-to-do community-based walking program, may provide both immediate and sustained benefits for people with self-reported arthritis who also report a range of work place limitations related to their arthritis symptoms.