Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

The Effect of a 6 Week Walking Program on Work Activity Limitations in Adults with Arthritis.

Charnock3,  Brian L., Martin2,  Kathryn Remmes, Shreffler3,  Jack, Altpeter3,  Mary, Callahan1,  Leigh F.

Univ of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


To evaluate the effect of a revised 6 week walking intervention program, Walk With Ease (WWE), on work limitations among people with self-report arthritis.


While conducting an evaluation of the Arthritis Foundation's (AF) Walk With Ease (WWE) community based walking program, pretest-posttest physical evaluations and self-report surveys were administered to 462 individuals. Of these, 94 were employed and answered a series of questions using the Workplace Activity Limitation Scale (WALS). This 12-item scale gauges physical activity limitations in working adults with arthritis. Participants answered individual WALS items by marking 0 (no difficulty), 1 (some difficulty), 2 (a lot of difficulty), and 3 (unable to do). Individual item scores were then summed and averaged to yield an overall WALS score which ranged from 0 (good) to 3 (bad) for each participant. At the 1 year WWE follow-up, 67 participants were still employed and retook the WALS. Pre-post t-tests were conducted for each individual WALS item and the overall WALS to determine whether participants significantly improved work limitations. Post-1yr t-tests were also conducted to determine if any improvements were maintained at 1 year.


Employed WWE participants were on average 56 years old, 88% female and 61% Caucasian. Mean Body Mass Index was 32 and 81% had more than a high school education. Overall, 59% of participants improved their WALS during the 6 week program. In pre-post comparisons, the overall WALS significantly improved from a mean of 0.57 (SD ±0.34) to a mean of 0.47 (SD ±0.36), p<0.001. Individual WALS items with significant improvement were: "Lifting/Carrying objects" (0.96 (±0.72) to 0.71 (±0.78), p<0.001), "standing for long periods of time" (0.85 (±0.77) to 0.6 (±0.73), p<0.01)," maintaining concentration" (0.34 (±0.50) to 0.19 (±0.40), p<0.01), as well as "using hands" and "reaching" (both p<0.05). Improvements shown at 6 weeks were maintained at one year in both the overall WALS (0.45 (±0.31) to 0.43 (±0.33)) and the 5 individual WALS items listed above.


After a 6 week walking program, working adults with arthritis showed significant improvement in overall work limitations. Improvements were primarily in lifting/carrying, standing for long periods of time and maintaining concentration while at work. One year after the walking program, work limitation improvements were maintained. Walking intervention programs, such as WWE, should be considered by employers to improve the health and productivity of employees in both the short and long term.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Charnock, Brian L., Martin, Kathryn Remmes, Shreffler, Jack, Altpeter, Mary, Callahan, Leigh F.; The Effect of a 6 Week Walking Program on Work Activity Limitations in Adults with Arthritis. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :2141
DOI: 10.1002/art.29905

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