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Physical Activity is for Everybody. How do you get enough?

by NCHPAD January 26, 2011

Woman exercising at the gym

One of the objectives for Healthy People 2020 isReduce the proportion of adults who engage in no leisure-time physical activity to “increase the proportion of people with disabilities who report having access to health and wellness programs”. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 20 million families in the U.S. have at least 1 member with a disability, and in one out of every 5 households in the U.S., a family is caring for a child that has unique health care needs.  Barriers to physical activity in people with disabilities within the United States and many other countries throughout the developing world have contributed to significant public health problems confronting our society today. Some benefits of physical activity include increased cardiac and pulmonary function, improved ability to perform activities of daily living, protection against development of chronic diseases, decreased anxiety and depression, enhanced feeling of well-being, weight control, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. 

There is a strong call to action for public health officials to implement evidence-based physical activity interventions that are inclusive of people of all abilities.  Due to the many barriers individuals with disabilities face in their physical activity efforts, it is important for us to come up with creative delivery methods for these interventions and opportunities for being physically active.  With the popularity of social networking sites, viral video, and other technology, one way that the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability is attempting to address this is through a video contest entitled, “How do you get enough?”

Being physically active is good for everybody. This is especially true for people with disabilities who tend to participate in less physical activity, carry excess weight and have higher rates of chronic heart disease and other health conditions.  The intention of this video contest is to illustrate to society that people with disabilities do live healthy active lifestyles as well as share various ways to get physical activity for individuals with disabilities and activity limitations. This video contest will be promoted through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and video sharing sites such as Youtube.

With two billion views on YouTube per day, this largely untapped market place of adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities can make a huge impact by showing the world how people with disabilities get their physical activity. Also, with the increase of cameras and cell phones with video capabilities, many people without expensive camera equipment and editing expertise are able to create these hugely popular videos without much effort. Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, recreational or competitive, solo or team, easy or intensive, we (and the rest of the world) are looking how people with a wide variety of abilities (whether successfully or unsuccessfully) get enough activity in a 1-10 minute video clip!  For more information, please see the contest rules at http://www.ncpad.org/newsletter/newsletter.php?letter=123&section=1593.  For a sample video please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AGgD9rFdsA.

How are you using the Healthy People 2020 objectives to increase physical activity?  How do you work with clients and your community to encourage persons with disabilities go get enough activity?

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