National Academy of Medicine

Physical Activity for People with Disabilities: How Do We Reach Those with the Greatest Need?

By James H.
April 06, 2015 | Discussion Paper

The 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this year is an opportune time for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to begin thinking about addressing the high rates of physical inactivity among people with disabilities. Recent national estimates on rates of physical activity among Americans (2009-2012) found that more than 50 percent of adults with disability are not meeting the U.S. exercise guidelines of 150 minutes per week.  Achieving the U.S. recommended guidelines is far more challenging for many people with disabilities, particularly among those who have difficulty walking, are unable to walk due to some form of paralysis (e.g., spinal cord injury), or cannot walk for long periods due to pain and/or balance impairments (e.g., multiple sclerosis, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.).

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.