Inactivity adds illness to injury for 1 in 2 with disabilities

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently highlighted the important role that physical activity plays in our overall health. It is “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” said Director Tom Frieden. Without regular physical activity, individuals are more susceptible to cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

Those with a disability are 50 percent more likely to suffer the complications mentioned above, reported the CDC in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report discussed on Tuesday, May 6. “Unfortunately, many adults with disabilities in Tennessee and across the entire country don’t get the regular physical activity” they need, said Frieden.

Living up to the CDC’s weekly recommendation of two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity physical activity is easier for some than others. Extra hurdles are placed in the exercise path of those with a disability.

The most obvious is the disability itself, making it more difficult to find an appropriate exercise program, and even fitness professionals aren’t always equipped with the necessary training to help.

The CDC report put these concerns in real, tangible numbers. Researchers found that across the nation, approximately 1 in every 2 people with a disability in the age group of 18 to 64 aren’t getting any aerobic physical activity at all, and another 22 percent aren’t getting enough.

Epidemiologist Dianna Carroll led the study, and she noted that helping those with a disability obtain the suggested amount of physical activity involves more than motivation on the part of the individual with the disability. The CDC said that advocates and health professionals need to help increase the resources available and play a bigger role in education and encouragement.

Source: disability scoop, “CDC: 1 In 2 With Disabilities Physically Inactive,” Michelle Diament, May 7, 2014