CDC: 1 in 4 adults have a disability that impacts daily life

Aug. 16 (UPI) — One in four adults reported they have a disability that impacts major life activities with the most dominant one affecting mobility, according to a report issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data were studied from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. This is the first CDC report of the percentage of adults across six disability types: mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, independent living and self-care.

“At some point in their lives, most people will either have a disability or know someone who has a one,” Dr. Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a press release. “Learning more about people with disabilities in the United States can help us better understand and meet their health needs.”

Researchers randomly surveyed 458,811 noninstitutionalized U.S. adults 18 and older by telephone for the study. The study was broken down into three age groups: 18-44, 45-64 and 65 and older.

Disability affects about 41 percent of those age 65 and older, compared with younger adults at 16.6 percent and middle age people at 28.6 percent. Overall, 25.7 percent of participants reported any disability.

Mobility was the most prevalent disability type at 13.7 percent, followed by cognition at 10.8 percent, independent living at 6.8 percent, hearing at 5.9 percent, vision at 4.6 percent and self-care at 3.7.

The data revealed that disability is more common among women, non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives, adults with lower income and adults living in the South Census region of the United States.

In addition, the percentage of adults with a disability increased as income decreased.

Among young adults, cognitive disability, at 10.6 percent, was the most prevalent type. Mobility disability was most prevalent among middle-aged at 18.1 percent and older adults at 26.9 percent.

Specifically, mobility disability is nearly five times as common among middle-aged people — 45 to 64 years old — living below the poverty level compared with those whose income is twice that level.

Hearing, mobility and independent living disabilities were higher among older adults.

The study also found more adults 65 years and older with disabilities have health insurance coverage, a primary doctor and receive a routine health checkup compared with middle-aged and younger adults with disabilities.

By age 65, approximately 98 percent of Americans have access to Medicare coverage. But older adults reporting self-care disability might face more financial strain because of a higher level of medical need compared with persons without such disability.

“People with disabilities will benefit from care coordination and better access to healthcare and the health services they need, so that they adopt healthy behaviors and have better health,” said Dr. Georgina Peacock, director of CDC’s Division of Human Development and Disability. “Research showing how many people have a disability and differences in their access to healthcare can guide efforts by healthcare providers and public health practitioners to improve access to care for people with disabilities.”


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