Creating Inclusive Programs
Health promotion programming is the creation of initiatives, events, camps, and other various activities intended to improve the health of participants. A few of the many possible examples of health promotion events, programs, and offerings include:
- walking and hiking groups
- fun runs, 5ks, and half- and full marathons
- group fitness classes
- sports-themed summer camps
- and many, many more
Often, organizations and coalitions create health promotion opportunities billed as being open to all community members. However, certain barriers may exist that prevent equitable participation and benefit to some members of the community. As such, health promotion practitioners should incorporate inclusion into program planning, action, and evaluation stages to ensure that all individuals enjoy equitable participation and benefit in such programs.
Some planners may initially see inclusion as a daunting programming obstacle. However, with proper planning and policies, as well as participant and stakeholder input, it can serve as a simple, incredibly beneficial programming cornerstone. The following are a variety of examples of health promotion programs and initiatives that are inclusive and/or incorporate inclusion:
- walking group and road race routes that align with Access Board Accessible Routes guidelines
- cycling trails that are created or modified to be wide enough to accommodate pedal and arm bicycles
- climbing walls that include routes with different spacing of holds for individuals who may only utilize their arms in climbing
- playgrounds that include access ramps, activities on the ground level, and safety padding that can navigated by users of accessible devices, such as wheelchairs or canes
- sports camps that include adaptive sports along with their non-adapted counterparts, such as a track and field camp that allows assistive device users to participate and compete alongside those not using devices
To assist health promotion planners in incorporating inclusion into their efforts, NCHPAD and its partners, along with an expert panel, have created a set of Guidelines for Disability Inclusion in Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Programs and Policies. When utilized, these Guidelines will help ensure the creation of policies on any level that will lead to programs that are inclusive and thus equitable to all participants. If you have additional questions about the Guidelines, or creating inclusive policies and programs in general, contact NCHPAD for assistance and additional information.