Obesity is a major obstacle for disabled americans

July 17, 2013, Health Behavior News Service
Obesity is a major obstacle for disabled americans

Obesity and its related health problems impacts far more people with a disability than previously reported, according to new research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

About 54 million people in the U.S. have a disability that affects mobility. The study looked at how these disabilities affect the prevalence of and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lead author Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, Ph.D., associate professor at University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas, said the main impetus of the study was to assess the rate of obesity among people with disabilities based on actual measurements rather than people's self-reported height and weight, which are often inaccurate.

"While we expected to see higher prevalence than earlier estimates based on self-reports, we were surprised to see how high obesity prevalence was among those with a disability," she said.

The researchers used six sets of data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (1999–2010) to compare the rates of obesity and extreme obesity among 11,556 adults with disabilities and 20,434 adults without disabilities. The most common disabilities affecting mobility were arthritis and back and neck problems. Chronic disease risk factors, including blood pressure, lipids and were also compared by weight and severity and status of disability.

The study found that 41.6 percent of people with disabilities were obese and 9.3 percent were extremely obese. In contrast, 29.2 percent of those without a disability were obese and 3.9 percent extremely obese.

People with disabilities at all weight categories were significantly more likely to report having , , or diabetes and to have been prescribed medications for these conditions.

Healthcare providers should be encouraged to include individuals with disabilities in their clinical weight management efforts, suggest the researchers.

"Physical activity and exercise are critical to weight management and those with disabilities should also be as active as they can within the limits of their function and health," said Froehlich-Grobe. "Common forms of exercise and activity [include] walking or bicycling, so the problem faced by providers is knowing what to recommend to those who face mobility issues and for whom walking is neither feasible or advisable."

Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., director of Johns Hopkins Weight Loss Management Center in Baltimore, said patients with treated at his center are indeed faced with more challenges, since physical activity may be less possible as a means of preventing or treating weight gain.

"Food may also be a source of pleasure and comfort even more than in the general population," Cheskin said. "We tend to focus on addressing intake, as this is the area most likely to result in improvements in weight."

Explore further: People with a disability more likely to be obese, have chronic illnesses

Related Stories

People with a disability more likely to be obese, have chronic illnesses

June 27, 2013
Adults with a disability are more likely to be obese or extremely obese than those without a disability according to a study led by researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health, which is part of The University ...

Women with chronic physical disabilities are no less likely to bear children

May 16, 2013
Like the general public, health care professionals may hold certain stereotypes regarding sexual activity and childbearing among women with disabilities. But a new study finds that women with chronic physical disabilities ...

A walking revolution helps older adults get and stay active

June 6, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—It sounds simple: get outside and take a walk. Walking on its own is known to offer numerous health benefits, everything from lower blood pressure to less aches and pains. For some people, though, getting ...

People with disabilities at greater risk of violence and subsequent mental ill-health

February 20, 2013
People with disabilities are at a greater risk of being the victims of violence and of suffering mental ill health when victimized, according to research published February 20 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Hind Khalifeh ...

Adults with learning disabilities at greater risk of sight problems

July 2, 2012
Adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to be blind or have impaired vision according to researchers from Lancaster University.

Recommended for you

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.