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Many disabled individuals missing out on 'wonder drug'

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called exercise the closest thing we have to a “wonder drug,” which is why he said it is so problematic that a new study reports that nearly half of the disabled population in the United States is physically inactive.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report was released this week after interviews were conducted with more than 83,000 American adults, including over 10,000 with disabilities. It revealed that 47 percent of Americans with disabilities between the ages 18 to 64 reported getting no aerobic physical activity.

Additionally, the report concluded that another 22 percent of disabled adults said that they got some exercise but it was less than the recommended amount.

The director of the CDC said the fact that members of the disabled population were 50 percent more likely to report suffering from a serious and chronic condition such as diabetes, stroke, cancer or heart disease makes the lack of exercise findings even more alarming.

Although some disabled individuals face limitations when it comes to exercising, researchers with the CDC said exercise is possible for most. An epidemiologist with CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities who led the study said the key take-away is that “some activity is better than none.”

For purposes of the study, disabled individuals were defined as people having serious difficulty with concentrating, remembering or decision making, walking or climbing stairs, or seeing or hearing.

The study also furthers the understanding that one disability can quickly lead to other health complications. For this reason, many individuals find that they can no longer perform their job duties because of mounting health concerns after one condition strikes.

Luckily, Social Security Disability benefits are often available to people in this situation as they try to improve their health, perhaps in part through the “wonder drug” of exercise.

Source: Disability Scoop, “CDC: 1 In 2 With Disabilities Physically Inactive,” Michelle Diament, May 7, 2014

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