July 26, 2019 marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities at work, school, or other community settings. Learn what CDC is doing to include people with disabilities in public health research and health promotion activities.
An estimated 61 million people are living with a disability in the United States,1 and many people will experience a disability at some time during the course of their lives. Disabilities limit how a child or adult functions. Limitations may include difficulty walking or climbing stairs; hearing; seeing; or concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
Enacted on July 26, 1990, the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are to promote equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities, as well as protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination. The ADA has made a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities by providing better access to buildings, transportation, and employment; however, challenges remain with access to health care, as well as inclusion of people with disabilities in health promotion and disease prevention programs.1
Additionally, people with disabilities continue to face significant differences in health compared to people who do not have disabilities. For example:
- Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.2
- Adults with disabilities are more likely to smoke, to have obesity, and to be physically inactive than adults without disabilities.3
- Women with disabilities are less likely to have received a mammogram in the previous 2 years than women without disabilities.4
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tools for Inclusion
People with disabilities need public health programs and healthcare services for the same reasons anyone does—to be healthy, active, and engaged as part of the community. Including people with disabilities in public health programs and activities ensures improvements in the overall health and well being of the entire population. CDC provides resources that public health practitioners, healthcare providers, and others can use to help ensure that everyone – with and without disabilities – can participate fully in their communities.
Visit the Disability and Health website to find helpful information about disability inclusion and to learn more about
- Barriers to inclusion that people with disabilities usually experience in communities;
- Strategies to create inclusive communities; and
- Resources to include people with disabilities in public health programs and activities.
CDC recognizes ADA as an opportunity for the inclusion of people with disabilities in federal efforts related to health and health care.
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