May is National Arthritis Month and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Health Educator Melissa Vandervos wanted to get the message out the state’s arthritis program.

"We have several arthritis exercise programs available to people across the state of Montana," Vandervos said. "Go to and just type in 'Montana Arthritis Program,' then it will pull up our webpage."

Vandervos said the program is offered in Missoula, Dillon, down to Plentywood, Libby and Brodus and includes different exercise programs.

"One of them is the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program," Vandervos said. "The second is Enhanced Fitness, and then there is a Walk with Ease Program. These are all programs that are evidence based to help people with arthritis. We also have a self-management program which helps anybody, not just arthritis people, but anybody with a chronic condition to learn how to live with that condition and be healthier."

Vandervos said Montanans are more likely than the national average to get arthritis because of the type of labor most people in the state are involved in, including farming and other heavy labor.

"About 215,000 Montanans, and that's adults, have arthritis. That's one in every four adults. Nationally, it's one in every five adults," Vandervos said. "We have more prevalence of arthritis than the national rate. There's also about 900 children who have arthritis, so it's not just an old person's disease."