Disability and race: A comparative analysis of physical activity patterns and health status

Dorine J. Brand, Reginald J. Alston, Debra A. Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Minority groups, specifically African Americans (AAs), are more likely to be physically inactive than the general population. Although the aforementioned finding is well documented, there is a dearth of literature that examines levels of physical activity among AA adults with disabilities. The purpose of this article was to study the patterns of physical activity and health status among AA adults with disabilities in comparison with their White counterparts. Methods: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey were used to conduct comparative analyses of physical activity patterns and health status among 7315 AAs and 82482 Whites who self-reported a disability. Results: Significant differences (p < 0.05) were found between health status and physical activity patterns across racial groups. AAs with disabilities were less likely to engage in moderate and vigorous physical activity than their White counterparts. AAs were also less likely to engage in physical activity as health status declined in comparison with White respondents. Conclusion: When considering the health of minorities with disabilities, physical activity must be central to improving their health status. The authors of this study proviDe additional support for developing unique health programming for AAs with disabilities. Rehabilitation and health care professionals can gain insight into lifestyle patterns of minorities with disabilities, which can be useful in addressing health behaviors that may be counter to physical well-being. Implications for Rehabilitation African Americans with disabilities tend to report poorer health status and engage in less moderate and vigorous physical activity, even as health status decline, than their White counterparts. The use of a multilayered approach incorporating culturally tailored programming would be useful in improving health and physical activity outcomes of African Americans with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-801
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2012


  • African American
  • Disability
  • Health status
  • Physical activity
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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