Did you know that more than 21 million US working age adults (between 18 and 64) have a disability? Adults with disabilities are 3 times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. The best way to avoid these chronic diseases is through aerobic physical activity, and most activities may be modified, adapted, to get everyone physically active, shows a new CDC Vital Signs report.
Nearly half of adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity. Yet adults with disabilities do follow healthcare provider guidance.
“Physical activity is key to better health for people of all abilities and all ages,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Too many of the more than 21 million US adults with disabilities don’t get aerobic physical activity, but we can change that. Doctors can play an important role. Our research has found that adults with disabilities were more than 80 percent more likely to be physically active if a doctor recommended it.”
Take a look at key findings of the CDC Vital Signs report:
- Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.
- Inactive adults with disabilities were 50 percent more likely to report at least one chronic condition than were active adults with disabilities.
- Nearly half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, an important protective health behavior to help avoid these chronic diseases.
- Adults with disabilities were 82 percent more likely to be physically active if their doctor recommended it.
Doctors and other health professionals can recommend physical activity options that match the abilities of adults with disabilities and resources that can help overcome barriers to physical activity. These barriers include limited information about accessible facilities and programs; physical barriers in the built or natural environment; physical or emotional barriers to participating in fitness and recreation activities, and lack of training in accessibility and communication among fitness and recreation professionals.
For this report, CDC analyzed data from the 2009-2012 National Health Interview Survey, specifically looking at the link between physical activity levels and chronic diseases among US adults aged 18-64 years with disabilities, by disability status and type. Adults with disabilities have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs; hearing; seeing; or concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.