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Disability and Health State Chartbook - 2006 Profiles of Health for Adults With Disabilities

Disability and Health State Chartbook - 2006 Profiles of Health for Adults With Disabilities

Message to Readers

I am pleased to present the Disability and Health State Chartbook, 2006: Profiles of Health for Adults With Disabilities. This book is the first in a series of chartbooks on the health of people with disabilities. This chartbook performs three important functions:

  1. Provides the prevalence of disability among adults at the state level (please see Appendix B for a definition of prevalence.)
  2. Shows how health behaviors and access to health services differ between people with and without disabilities in each state.
  3. Identifies areas for reducing differences in health outcomes.

I hope readers will use this information to develop and refine state and community programs so they are more inclusive of people with disabilities. By including people with disabilities in health programs, we can begin to address health disparities that are identified in this book.

Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 15 years ago, we have removed or reduced many social barriers. Buildings are more accessible. Employment opportunities are greater. This has enabled people with disabilities to become more independent and involved in their world. But are they healthier?

Often they are not. The findings in this chartbook show that people with disabilities generally report poorer health than people without disabilities. Also, people with disabilities often smoke more, are more often obese, and get less exercise than people without disabilities. Their health problems may require different solutions than people without disabilities. How can a man get enough exercise if he uses a wheelchair? Does a woman with a cognitive disability know where to get a flu shot? We can help people with disabilities become healthier by including them in smoking cessation programs, community fitness programs, and health messages.

I join the U.S. Surgeon General in his 2005 Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities. And I hope you will, too. Together we can help to ensure that people of all abilities enjoy healthier, richer, and more satisfying lives.

José F. Cordero, MD, MPH
Director, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention