Healthy Lifestyles for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities are more susceptible to compromised health status and preventable secondary conditions. A Healthy Lifestyles curriculum was developed as a health promotion program for people with disabilities. Using the curriculum, ten free 2½-day workshops were provided for people with various disabilities in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Workshops were conducted in collaboration with local entities such as Centers for Independent Living. The workshops took an integrated approach to health, addressing connections among physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health, and health through meaningful activities. During workshops, the participants obtained health information and experienced healthy activities such as yoga and non-impact aerobics, both tailored for people with disabilities. At the end of the workshop, each participant identified two healthy lifestyle goals to work toward. Progress and/or barriers in accomplishing those goals were shared in support groups for 6-9 months. Preliminary results indicate early and sustained improvements in health behaviors and health-related attitudes. The Healthy Lifestyles program offers a promising approach to promoting health among people with disabilities.