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Posts tagged: disability

Building Healthy, Inclusive Communities for All

Post Submitted by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD)

Community Health Inclu­sion, a term that describes disability-friendly environments where people with disabilities have access to the same programs and services associated with being as physically active and eating as well as the rest of the community.

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Many communities across the country have participated in a change process to improve the health and health outcomes of their communities, yet more and equal effort is required to address the health barriers and needs of people with disabilities.  Research shows that the estimated 56 million Americans with disabilities are not only at greater risk of developing serious health conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, but also face greater environmental barriers that inhibit their access. Coupled with health promotion initiatives that are inaccessible and seldom target improving the health of people with disabilities, the low activity status of people with disabilities is a concern. The lack of guidance and translation of inclusive practices makes this an issue of public health concern. 

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association observes National Public Health Week.  This is a time to recognize and highlight successes and areas of need for improving our nation’s health.  This year is a focus on guiding communities through the evolving public health system with the theme “Public Health: Start Here.”  As this week sparks discussion and action towards the evolving public health systems to improve the health and wellness of the entire community, we invite you to embrace the term Community Health Inclusion.  A well-planned, livable community is one that makes the right choice the easy choice by including people of all abilities!

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Building a Business Case for Inclusive Fitness

Blog post by NCHPAD

February should be a time for implementation of your New Year’s focused goals and strategies, but are these tactics reaching out to the often most untapped market in the fitness industry— people with disabilities?

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 Pictured above: JoAnne Fluke, Zumba® Instructor

Over 54 million Americans have a disability or activity limitation.  They represent a growing niche market for the fitness industry, but why?  Adults with disabilities have a 66% higher rate of obesity compared to those without disabilities; additionally, only 27.3% of people with disabilities met the Physical Activity Guidelines compared to 46.9% of the general population.  As a result, people with disabilities are more likely to be sedentary and experience substantial barriers to physical activity participation compared to the general population.  Along with the health disparities seen in people with disabilities, this group has a vast spending power according to the U.S. Department of Labor, making them a large and growing market.  

As fitness and health professionals, we all recognize the benefits of active opportunities for the general population, but shouldn’t these opportunities be made available to everyone?  Any effort to address the needs of people with disabilities is an opportunity to market and expand your program to a rising population.  Going beyond getting in the door and other ADA mandates, fitness organizations can benefit from treating inclusion as a value and recognizing differences among inviduals while still empowering those individuals to become active and contributory members.  Here are some tips for creating inclusive fitness environments:

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