Fitness Professionals for persons with disability

According to research, 1 in 5 adults or over 53 million people in the US live with a disability. Additionally, adults with disabilities are 3 times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. Half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, which puts them more at risk of chronic diseases. To develop a truly facilitating community, health promotion activities need to be as accessible to people with disability as they are to people without disability.

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is a public health practice and resource center for information on physical activity, health promotion, and disability, serving persons with physical, sensory and cognitive disability across the lifespan. This webinar discusses ways of addressing inclusion as per the resources provided by the NCHPAD.

First, the NCHPAD provides an Inclusive Community Health Implementation Package (iCHIP) to help address the inequities faced by people with disability. The iCHIP features interactive tools to help community health practitioners, organizations, and coalitions incorporate, enhance, and promote inclusion across all aspects of the community.

The package contains a Community Health Inclusion Index,  a tool used to help communities gather information on the extent to which there are health living resources that are inclusive of all members of the community. Secondly, the package contains the Community Health Inclusion Sustainability plan, which focuses on developing an inclusive health coalition for community engagement. An inclusive health coalition is a way of creating local level sustainability and inclusion. The purpose of an inclusive health coalition is to remove barriers to access for people with disabilities in community health, physical activity, and nutrition organizations, programs, activities, events, etc.

Third, the package contain the Community Health Inclusion Communication Scorecard that allows communities to evaluate their level of inclusive media and communication materials, and receive a customized set of recommendations in areas that need improvement. Consequently, the NCHDAP provides the Community Health Inclusion Training and Technical Assistance to educate disability and non-disability service providers in community health inclusion. Lastly, the NCHPAD provides Community Health Inclusion Recommended Policies, which is a set of disability health inclusion policy guidelines and training manual describing how to change local and state policies/plans to increase community health inclusion.

The NCHPAD also has an interactive website to encourage communication between them and healthcare providers, individuals and caregivers, public health professionals and educators. Online chats, social media accounts are available for quick communication. The NCHPAD also provides ways to customize the inclusion plan according to the individuals needs. An organization with an already existing plan will have a different inclusion plan than an organization with no plan at all. Services provided by the NCHPAD are crucial and health practitioners need to incorporate recommended guidelines if interested in inclusion for their practice. The fact that NCHPAD’s inclusion package provides local level resources makes it a more suitable approach for health practitioners to influence individual behavior change.