Obesity Strategy Adaptation for Youth with Disabilities - Increasing Physical Activity Time in Physical Education Class
The rate of obesity among adolescents ages 12 to 19 years has more than tripled over the past three decades, and the rate among children ages 6 to 11 years has more than doubled. While that sounds like a staggering figure (and it should), consider that the rates of obesity are even worse among children and adolescents with disabilities. Reversing the U.S. obesity epidemic requires a comprehensive approach that uses policy and environmental change to transform communities into places that promote healthy lifestyle choices for all. To help communities, the CDC initiated the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project to identify a set of strategies that communities and local governments can use for obesity prevention. The 24 strategies created using the expert panel process are divided into six categories: 1) strategies to promote the availability of affordable healthy food and beverages, 2) strategies to support healthy food and beverage choices, 3) a strategy to encourage breastfeeding, 4) strategies to encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity among children and youth, 5) strategies to create safe communities that support physical activity, and 6) a strategy to encourage communities to organize for change.
The strategies for the prevention or reduction of obesity have been developed from an evidence-base of research that typically excludes participation by people with disabilities. Our “Adaptations to Community-based Obesity Reducing National Strategies” (ACORNS) website is part of a grant funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to promote more inclusive community-based obesity prevention programs that represent the needs of youth and young adults with disabilities. The obesity-prevention strategy adaptation portal, http://www.24acorns.org , was created so that persons with disabilities, teachers, clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and more could have a place to contribute their input on how to best adapt the CDC’s obesity-prevention strategies to be inclusive.
The featured strategy this month is something many of you know a lot about – physical activity. This specific strategy has to do with being active during physical education classes and recommends that communities increase the amount of physical activity in physical education (PE) programs in schools. Let's work together to develop a set of adaptations to help our schools help our young adults. What methods can be used to make sure youth and young adults with physical and cognitive disabilities are included in PE? What suggestions do you have to help PE teachers make class more engaging? After all, time spent in PE classes does not necessarily mean that students are physically active during that time. To contribute your suggestions, visit http://www.24acorns.org and click on the "Featured Strategy" button on the bottom of the page.
Please help to spread the word! Direct anyone you know who may have experience or expertise on how to adapt programs for persons with disabilities to http://www.24acorns.org. There, you can submit your suggestions for physical, cognitive, or cultural adaptations to any of our 24 featured strategies. For more information about the project, contact Jessica Madrigal via email at Jmadri1@uic.edu or via phone at 312-355-5295.