CDC Reports on Disability, Chronic Disease
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 06:24 PM

People with a disability were more likely to report at least one chronic illness and were less likely to participate in recommended physical activities, researchers reported.  Inactive adults with a disability were 50% more likely to report one or more chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Among U.S. adults, ages 18-64, 11.6% reported having a disability -- hearing, vision, cognition, or mobility -- and those adults were far more likely to report inactivity compared with adults who did not have a disability (47.1% versus 26.1%), although 44% said their healthcare provider had recommended they take part in physical activity.

There are several resources health professionals can use to assist patients in reaching their activity goals, specifically, there are five steps doctors and other health professionals can take:

1) recommend aerobic physical activity options that match patient-specific abilities, and 2) connect them to resources that can help them be physically active.

The CDC recommends the following steps to addressing physical activity with patients who have disabilities:

1. Know that all adults, including those with disabilities, should get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity, aerobic physical activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, for health benefits, as recommended by The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. If this level of activity isn't possible, encourage patients to be as active as possible.

2. Ask about physical activity, such as how much do they do per week and what type of activity.

3. Discuss barriers to physical activity, such as lack of social support or proper guidance from fitness and health professionals. In the NHIS data, estimates for disability type ranged from 1.7% for vision problems to 5.8% for mobility issues, and these may serve as possible barriers.

4. Recommend physical activity options based on the patient's abilities.

5. Refer patients to resources and programs to help them begin or maintain physical activity, and check in with patients about their progress.

"Our study shows that adults with disabilities who got a recommendation from their doctor were 82% more likely to be physically active than if they had not gotten a recommendation.

Providers are encouraged to use resources provided by the CDC to assist with with the conversation. "Doctors may not know about resources and programs to which they can refer adult patients with disabilities."

"These data highlight the need for increased physical activity among persons with disabilities, which might require support across societal sectors, including government and healthcare."