CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias called on physicians to take on a more active role in promoting physical activity to their patients with disabilities by recommending more exercise and providing resources that allows them to overcome any physical barriers to activity.
‘The bottom line is that physical activity is a wonder drug, and everyone can benefit from it,” Arias said. “All of us have a responsibility to help adults with disabilities, including our friends, our family members and neighbors, be more physically active.”
Data for the report was obtained from the National Health Interview Survey for the years between 2009 and 2012 and looked at the activity levels of adults with disabilities who were able to be physically active. The report also examined the rate at which those patients received a recommendation from their physician to be more physically active. About 44% of adults with disabilities who visited their doctors over the past year got recommendations to be more physically active, but 82% were more likely to do so if they got a doctor’s recommendation, the study found.
“By including discussions and recommendations for physical activity during all medical visits, professionals can help adults with disabilities be more physically active in ways that work for them,” Arias said. “It’s critical that none of us underestimate the value of physical activity in our lives or underestimate the capabilities of those with disabilities.”
Government guidelines suggest all adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
Studies have shown a higher prevalence of chronic diseases among those with physical disabilities compared with those without such limitations. A CDC study released in January showed adults with lifelong disabilities were 2.92 times more likely to develop heart disease, 1.61 times more likely to have cancer and 2.57 times more likely to have diabetes than those without disabilities.
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