The purpose of this book is to provide public health, disability, and rehabilitation professionals and practitioners evidence-based science with respect to health disparities faced by people with disabilities, especially people with mobility limitations; alternative methods of rehabilitation and exercise science for this population; assistive device technology; and, improved access to health care, employment, and social participation.
According to the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), approximately 57 million Americans live with a disability. Disability severity and types vary considerably, such that each individual with a disability faces unique physical, social, and environmental barriers in order to enjoy quality of life and full participation in society. A large research literature shows that people with disabilities face substantial employment and health disparities compared to people without disabilities. People with mobility limitations often experience secondary conditions to compound their primary disability. Hollar (2013) and Hollar and Lewis (2015) showed that people with mobility limitations were significantly more likely to experience obesity and lack of access to physical exercise. Other studies have shown that access to proper physical examination facilities and equipment remain a substantial barrier in many clinics and hospitals despite the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act 25 years ago. Research on alternative exercise programs and new assistive device technologies offers promise to improve physical functioning and exercise for people with mobility limitations. Furthermore, increased focus on biopsychosocial over traditional medical models for disability will help policymakers and the public to recognize the complex, contextual issues (e.g., personal, social, environmental) that affect the lives of people with disabilities.
Readership includes public health practitioners and educators, disability and rehabilitation researchers, clinicians and sports medicine practitioners, and disability advocates. There have been general handbooks on disability, but advances in technology and alternative exercise programs, as well as novel disability health programs, are dispersed in the research literature. This book will help to highlight these programs for health policy experts, especially given the high health and social disparities experienced by this population.
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