The Importance of Inclusion for Cardiovascular Health Promotion Programs in Delaware

Papas MA, Stolz N, Orsega-Smith E, Sparling E, Freedman B

Health Promot Pract 2018 Mar;19(2):256-266

PMID: 28573871


Individuals with disabilities experience greater rates of cardiovascular disease than individuals without disabilities. This increase can be attributed to decreased levels of physical activity, poor eating habits, and increased levels of diabetes, smoking, and obesity. Individuals with disabilities are often excluded from surveillance, treatment, and prevention efforts. Consequently, there is little known about their participation rates in health promotion and disease prevention programs. The aims of this investigation are (1) to examine time trends in cardiovascular disease and risk factors over a 10-year period by disability status and (2) to assess the inclusiveness of health promotion programs in Delaware. The percentage of individuals with disabilities increased from 18% in 2001 to 28% in 2011. Individuals with disabilities had higher rates of cardiovascular disease (t = 80.45; degrees of freedom [df] = 198; p 30 kg/m2) than individuals without disabilities (t = 33.0; df = 198; p < .0001). They also reported less physical activity (t = 44.21; df = 198; p < .0001) and worse diet quality (t = 4.70; df = 198; p < .0001). There was a consistent lack of information about inclusion and participation of individuals with disabilities in health promotion programs. Making adaptations within cardiovascular disease prevention programs in Delaware is imperative to improving the health of individuals with disabilities. Ensuring cardiovascular disease programs are accessible and provide disability-specific trained staff will reduce barriers to participation so that all individuals can benefit.

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