Exploration of How People with Mobility Disabilities Rate Community Barriers to Physical Activity
Background and Significance: People with mobility disabilities (such as people who use a cane, walker, or wheelchair) are less likely to be physically active. Previous studies have identified community barriers to physical activity. However, these studies did not measure how people with mobility disabilities rated community barriers to physical activity. This study examined how people with mobility disabilities rate community barriers and explore relationships between these barriers and engagement in physical activity. Methods: Study participants (n = 150) were recruited from an accessible fitness center and an independent living center. Participants completed the Barriers to Physical Activity Questionnaire for People with Mobility Impairments and the Physical Activity and Disability Survey. Results: The most frequently reported community barriers were excessive crime or fear of crime (40.7%) and cars driving too fast (40.7%). The highest rated barrier was lack of accessible transportation to a fitness center, with a median rating of 5 out of 5. There was a significant, negative correlation between strength exercise and built environment and perceptions of safety. There was no significant correlation between aerobic exercise and built environment and perceptions of safety. Conclusion: People with disabilities face community barriers which contribute to a disparity in opportunities to be physically active. Future intervention studies are needed to determine whether physical activity rates change after improvements are made to make physical activity more accessible for people with disabilities.