CDC Funds UAlbany Arthritis Study

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4989

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 12, 2002) -- Arthritis, the leading cause of disability in America and a significant public health issue, is the subject of a new study, "Successful Exercisers Among People with Arthritis." Mary Gallant, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, has received a $142,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Schools of Public Health to develop an understanding of the factors that influence physical activity and exercise behavior among people with arthritis.

Although physical exercise and activity help to reduce pain and improve the quality of life for those with arthritis, people afflicted by the disease are frequently less active. Gallant will study factors such as barriers to physical activity, initiation versus maintenance of physical activity, and whether these factors differ by race or gender. Her analyses will be used to inform public health efforts aimed at increasing physical activity among adults with arthritis.

"There's a widespread myth that physical activity aggravates arthritis, but recent research shows that physical activity actually has a number of positive benefits for people with arthritis," Gallant said. "One of the goals of both the CDC's National Arthritis Program and the NYS Arthritis Program is to promote physical activity in this population. The results of this study will tell us how to do this more effectively."

Gallant received her M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her current research focuses on self-care behaviors among older adults. She is currently conducting a qualitative study that examines the influence of family and friends on older adults' chronic illness self-management. Gallant also conducts research on the health behaviors of people who provide in-home care to a spouse with dementia.

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges.

For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu.

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