Obesity rates continue to rise for the general population. But, is obesity a problem for people with disabilities? Centers for Disease Control set out to find out using information from the 1998 and 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for eight states and the District of Columbia. What it found out was that obesity is even more of a problem for the disabled population and that obesity rates are especially high among blacks and people ages 45 to 64 years old.
The survey used in an ongoing, randomly-dialed telephone survey of people in the United States who are more than 18 years of age and not living in an institution. In this survey, 52,037 individuals were called. Disability was defined as a "yes' to either of these questions: "Are you limited in any way in any activities because of an impairment or health program.?" Or "If you use special equipment or help from others to get around, what type do you use?"
Of those surveyed, 27.4% of people with disabilities were considered obese as compared to 16.5% without disabilities. Obesity rates varied by state with Rhode Island has the least (22.7%) and the District of Columbia has the most (35.6%).
"These data indicate that obesity is frequently comorbid with disability and underscore both the public health implications of obesity among persons with disabilities and the need to develop public health policies and interventions to prevent or reduce serious weight problems among this population." (pp. 806-807). #1882
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2002, September 13). State-specific prevalence of obesity among adults with disabilities: Eight states and the District of Columbia, 1998-1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 51 (36), 805-808.