Managing one's health essential to being self -sufficient, maintaining independence and enjoying full participation in society. Yet persons with developmental disabilities experience poorer health
status and engage in less healthy lifestyle behaviors than able-bodied peers. They have less
information about healthy lifestyles, providers are less likely to support preventative health practices, and community resources are less accessible. Disabled and Healthy will take a comprehensive approach to promote healthy lifestyles, fitness, and recreation. Objectives are to:
1. Have persons with developmental disabilities define healthy lifestyles;
2. Develop knowledge about accommodations to health and fitness activities;
3. Increase the ability of persons with disabilities to practice healthy lifestyles;
4. Increase provider skills to support people with disabilities to practice healthy lifestyles;
5. Increase access to health/fitness community resources for persons with disabilities; and
6. Expand health promotion campaigns to include persons with disabilities.
Focus and dialogue groups of persons with cognitive, physical, and sensory disabilities will define health. Surveys/interviews of providers and community resources identify barriers and opportunities for supporting healthy lifestyles. A train-the-trainer model using the resulting
information, a self-empowerment format, leadership skills, and follow-up supports will be used to train eight people with disabilities from different communities who will train an additional 256 people. Interventions will occur with providers, community resources (e.g., gym, weight control groups), health planes and public health.
Outcomes will individuals with disabilities being trained in health promotion, health care, and
service providers with an increase awareness and skills round disability and health, community
resources with more inclusive practices, and health education campaigns more informed about
disabilities. Products will include:
• Reports of the self-definition of healthy lifestyles by persons with disabilities;
• Survey findings of provider and community resources;
• Education modules; and
• a videotape documenting success stories.
This project enjoys strong community collaboration and support.