People with disabilities are largely unserved or underserved in programs of health promotion and physical activity. This situation is particularly problematic as they are often more vulnerable to the development of secondary conditions such as obesity, pain, social isolation, deconditioning and depression due to insufficient participation in key health promoting behaviors. The CHP believes that investing resources in empowering people with disabilities to improve and self-manage their own health through appropriate exercise, nutrition and health behavior (i.e., proper medication management, effective stress management) can have an enormous impact in improving quality of life and reducing health care costs.
The CHP was established in 1997 with the primary aim to identify people with disabilities who are at risk for developing numerous health complications (ie, secondary conditions) and provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary for promoting their own independence, equal opportunity, quality of life, and longevity. Building upon the core funding provided by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the CHP has been able to successfully compete for federal funding from the National Institutes on Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
- Reduce obesity and increase physical activity and better nutrition among youth and adults with disabilities.
- Develop a national surveillance system to monitor health and behavioral risk factors in persons with disabilities residing in rural, urban and suburban settings.
- Promote exercise participation and adherence for people with disabilities through the use of new and emerging technologies, including the Internet, virtual reality, and universally designed exercise equipment.
- Promote increased participation in healthful, active recreation and leisure activities through a national electronic information resource center.
- Promote increased self-management practices for personal health promotion targets, including healthy nutrition habits, physical activity, medication management, and wellness.