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  • CDC: Inactivity Can Increase Risk of Chronic Illness by 50% in Adults With Disabilities

    Adults with disabilities who are physically inactive are 50% more likely to have chronic disease than their physically active counterparts, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that urges better patient education.

    While the benefits of physical activity have been thoroughly demonstrated, CDC says, not all patients with disabilities are getting that message from their physicians. The agency estimates that only 44% of adults with disabilities were told by a doctor to get more physical activity. The CDC's findings appear in the May issue of Vital Signs, a monthly report series.

    The May Vital Signs issue recommends that individuals with disabilities get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week, and provides guidelines for how health care professionals can help to educate patients. The benefits, according to CDC, are clear: while nearly half (46%) of adults with disabilities who are inactive also have 1 or more chronic diseases, that rate drops to 31% if they increase physical activity.

    Other statistics from the report:

    • Adults with disabilities are 3 times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.
    • Nearly half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity. For adults without a disability, that rate is 26%.
    • Among the categories of disability, 57% of adults with mobility disabilities engage in no aerobic physical activity. The rate drops to 40% for adults with cognitive disabilities, 36% for those with vision impairments, and 33% for adults with hearing disabilities.

    APTA has long supported the promotion of physical activity and the value of physical fitness, and offers a prevention and wellness webpage that links to podcasts on the harmful effects of inactivity. The association also has representatives on the practice committee of Exercise is Medicine and the board of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance.

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