Disability Census Data: Implications for Legislation for Physical Activity
The purpose of this paper was to apply the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) model to secure fiscal resources for physical activity to selected federal and state programs. To advocate for resources tot effective physical activity for people with disabilities from federal and state governments, there is a need to clarify who and when people become disabled. Among federal government programs for people with disabilities, there is considerable variation in the definition of disability for program eligibility. Each government program defines disability with respect to whom they chose to serve. Because people with disabilities rely on various government programs to maintain their participation in the community, government agencies must clarify who is disabled and when it occurs for service provision support. For instance, the Social Security Department provides support for individuals who are not able to "engage in any substantial gainful activity," and these individuals are classified as disabled. Individuals who fall into this category for program assistance may not be eligible for services from another federal department, for example, blind, deaf, specific disability classifications.
The ICF is used to define disability and has implications for physical activity programs for people with disabilities. In July 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department published a document titled Americans With Disabilities: 2010 (Brault, 2012) which defined disability through behavioral assessments. Figure 1 depicts the ICF Model.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health
The Census Bureau has used the ICF to identify people who have a disability. This was an attempt to bridge many definitions of disability of impairment, activity limitation, and participation restriction. For clarification, body function and structure deficits may lead to physical activity limitations, which might result in a reduction of participation which is defined as engagement in activities with others (socialization).
Health professionals, advocates, and legislators use the term disability differently and in different contexts. Most models view disability as an extension of a physiological condition requiring treatment or therapy (i.e., medical model). However, social behavior models view disability as the result of social forces on impairment and suggest changes to social norms and practices that would reduce restrictions to participation.
Opportunities for Physical Activity Services Through Federal and State Legislation
The concept of personal functioning moves interventions from a medical biological model to behavior interventions practiced by providers of physical activities. The ICF recognizes that every person functions at different levels due to personal and environmental conditions. Thus, the ICF provides opportunities for providers of physical activity to participate in federally funded programs that provide health benefits outside of medical reimbursement.
There are approximately 56.7 million people with disabilities in the United States, which correlates to a little less than 19% of the population. There are 41 million people with physical disabilities and 16 million with cognitive/mental disabilities. Seven million adults cannot manage everyday activities due to depression and anxiety, and another million people have trouble getting along with others. Arthritis is the most prevalent disability reported.
Disability Increases With Age
Disability and need for assistance increases with age. The Census Report clearly defined disability as a part of the normal aging process. Statistics report that disability prevalence by age was: Under 15 years (8.4%), 15-24 years (10.2%), 25-44 years (11%), 45-54 years (19.7%), 55-64 years (29%), 65-69% years (35%), 70-74 years (43%), 75-79 years (54%), and 80 years and over (71%). …