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Adults with Disabilities More Likely to Be Physically Inactive — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 7, 2014

Adults with Disabilities More Likely to Be Physically Inactive

By Kelly Young

Roughly half of adults with disabilities don't get any physical activity, versus about a quarter of adults without disabilities, according to a CDC Vital Signs report.

Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, researchers also found that inactive adults with disabilities (hearing, vision, cognition, or mobility) were 50% more likely to report having at least one chronic disease, compared with active adults with disabilities. Adults with disabilities whose healthcare provider recommended they get physically active were 82% more likely to report being active than those who didn't receive such advice.

The CDC makes five recommendations for clinicians treating patients with disabilities:

  • Know physical activity guidelines: at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

  • Ask patients about their physical activity.

  • Discuss barriers to physical activity (e.g., physical barriers, feeling self-conscious at the gym).

  • Recommend fitness options that fit a patient's needs (e.g., handcrank bicycles, water aerobics).

  • Refer patients to outside resources.

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