Primary prevention among working age USA adults with and without disabilities

Christina Fitzmaurice, Norma Kanarek, Sheila Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose. Health promotion and disease prevention among people with disabilities are often overlooked. The objective of this article is to determine if working age adults with disabilities differ in healthy behaviours from those without disabilities. Method. Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System data (2003) were used to assess healthy behaviours among 201,840 community dwelling working age adults. Results. People who reported activity limitation irrespective of assistive device use were more likely to be overweight and to smoke than people without a disability. The prevalence of heavy alcohol and insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption was significantly lower among those who used an assistive device irrespective of activity limitation compared to the No Disability Group. Adults in all disability groups were significantly more likely to report physical inactivity compared to the No Disability Group. Lower alcohol consumption and physical inactivity findings were accentuated when the disabled were not working. Conclusions. There is evidence that people with a disability report poor lifestyle behaviours that increase disease risk and may need assistance with smoking cessation, weight loss and adoption of a physical activity routine. Screening for unhealthy behaviours and advice should be incorporated into routine health care visits for working age adults with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011


  • Behavioural risk factor surveillance system
  • alcohol drinking
  • body weight
  • disabled persons
  • employment
  • exercise
  • fruit
  • immunisation
  • smoking
  • vegetable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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