Welcome to the Be Active Your Way blog, the official blog of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG). Follow the Be Active Your Way blog to learn what organizations across the nation are doing to help Americans be more physically active. Learn more about this blog.

Posts tagged: disability

Pledge to Talk about Physical Activity

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

In case you missed it, last month CDC released its Vital Signs report on Adults with Disabilities: Physical activity is for everybody.  The report focused on physical activity levels among working age adults 18 to 64 and the impact of receiving a health professional’s recommendation for physical activity.  Key messages included:

  • Working age adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.
  • Nearly half of adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, an important protective health behavior to help avoid these chronic diseases.
  • Inactive adults with disabilities were 50 percent more likely to report at least one chronic disease than were active adults with disabilities.
  • Adults with disabilities were 82 percent more likely to be physically active if their doctor recommended it.

Looking at these key messages, there is a clear relationship between people with disabilities being more likely to visit a health professional due to increasing prevalence of chronic disease and secondary conditions.  This relationship creates an opportunity for doctors and other health professionals to play a key role in promoting physical activity among their adult patients with disabilities by simply talking about it.  CDC lists 5 steps that doctors and other health professionals can use to increase physical activity among adults with disabilities:

  1. Remember that Physical Activity Guidelines are for Everybody
  2. Ask about Physical Activity
  3. Discuss Barriers to Physical Activity
  4. Recommend Physical Activity Options
  5. Refer Patients to Resources and Programs

Here at the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability we have created an action campaign surrounding the role that doctors and other health professionals can play in the form of a pledge.  The pledge for healthcare providers includes pledging to talk about physical activity to patients, especially those with disabilities; prescribing physical activity; and using NCHPAD’s Physician’s Toolkit to connect patients with resources and opportunities to be physically active.  Within the Physician’s Toolkit individuals will also find DocTalk Videos, which include short video messages of doctors talking to other doctors about the importance of prescribing physical activity.  We encourage broad dissemination of these resources and others provided by CDC to support this Vital Signs report. CDC has developed a dedicated resource page for doctors and other health professionals with information to help them recommend physical activity to their adult patients with disabilities, www.cdc.gov/disabilities/PA

Not a doctor or health professional?  No problem!  Physical activity is for everybody –and everybody can help.  Communities, health professionals and adults with disabilities can come together and help increase physical activity among the 21 million working age adults with disabilities in the U.S.  Learn more about what can be done in this factsheet and find your role of action!

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.


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!

Read More

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?


 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:

Read More