To improve the health and wellness of persons with disabilities: what it means to you. (The Surgeon General's Call to Action).About This Surgeon General's Call to Action
The Surgeon General The U.S. Surgeon General is charged with the protection and advancement of health in the United States. Since the 1960s the surgeon general has become a highly visible federal public health official, speaking out against known health risks such as tobacco use, and promoting disease is the nation's top public health officer. The President of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.
The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long. appoints the Surgeon General to help protect and promote the health of the nation.
The Surgeon General provides to the American people An American people may be:
When a health topic needs special attention, the Surgeon General issues a call to action to the nation. The recently published Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities highlights disability as a major public health issue.
About This People's Piece
The purpose of this "People's Piece" is to provide in simple language the same basic information found in the larger Call to Action and to improve everyone's knowledge about the health and wellness of people with disabilities.
The Surgeon General believes that when people have information about a public health issue, they are better able to take action to improve their health and wellness and that of their families and their communities.
Suggested Citation Citation
(foaled 1945) U.S. Thoroughbred racehorse. In four seasons he won 32 of 45 races, finished second in ten, and third in two. He won the 1948 Triple Crown, and became the first horse to win $1 million. He set a world record in 1950 by running a mile in 1:33 3/5. : U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Noun 1. Department of Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Health and Human Services, HHS . The 2005 Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities: Calling You to Action. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2005.
All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from the federal government. Citation of the source is appreciated.
What Is Disability?
Disability has been defined in many ways. In general, a disability is a feature of the body, mind, or senses that can affect a person's daily life.
Many Americans experience disability first hand. * Some people are born with a disability.
* Some people get hurt or sick and have a disability as a result.
* Some people develop a disability as they age.
* Some people have a disability that lasts a short time. Other people have a disability that lasts a lifetime.
Today, over 54 million-or 1 in 5-people living in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. have at least one disability. Based on what we know about disability, the reality is that you or someone you care about will have a disability at some point.
That is why the Surgeon General wants everyone to know that disability can affect any of us.
The chance of having a disability goes up with age, from less than 10% for people 15 years of age or younger, to almost 75% for people 80 or older. With good health habits and access to health care, many disabilities can be delayed or even prevented.
Who Are People with Disabilities?
Anyone of any age can have a disability. People of all races and ethnicities can have disabilities. People with disabilities live throughout the United States, in towns, cities, and rural areas.
People with disabilities go to school and attend places of worship. They also vote, marry, have children, work, and play. To do all these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. , people with disabilities need health care and health programs for the same reasons anyone else does-to stay well, active, and a part of the community.
Anyone can have a disability --
An infant can be born with hearing loss.
A child can become paralyzed par·a·lyze
tr.v. par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing, par·a·lyz·es
1. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.
2. To make unable to move or act: paralyzed by fear. by an injury from a car crash.
A young adult can have depression or another mental illness.
A woman in her early 30s can have multiple sclerosis multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic, slowly progressive autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the protective myelin sheaths that surround the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord (a process called demyelination), resulting in damaged areas .
A man in midlife mid·life
See middle age.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of middle age. can develop type 2 diabetes type 2 diabetes
See diabetes mellitus. .
An older adult can lose her sight from glaucoma glaucoma (glôkō`mə), ocular disorder characterized by pressure within the eyeball caused by an excessive amount of aqueous humor (the fluid substance filling the eyeball). .
Different kinds of disabilities affect people in different ways. And the same disability can affect each person differently.
Disabilities by Age Group
< 15years = 7.8%
25-44 years = 13.4%
45-54 years = 22.6%
>80 years = 73.6%
You Can Do a Lot to Improve the Health and Wellness of People with Disabilities.
For instance, you can:
* See the whole person, not just the disability.
* Speak directly with the person with a disability, rather than through a third party.
* Speak with adults as adults, and children as children.
* Ask the person with a disability if he or she needs any help. Do not assume help is needed.
* Be aware and patient of the extra time it might take a person with a disability to speak or act.
* Respect what a person with a disability can do. See the ability in disability.
* Understand that not having access to work, school, health care, or fun things to do can cause more problems than a disability itself.
* Be the person who makes a difference.
People With Disabilities Can Lead Long, Healthy Lives
People with disabilities need health care and health programs for the same reasons anyone else does-to stay well, active, and a part of the community.
Having a disability does not mean you can't be healthy.
Being healthy means the same thing for all of us-getting and staying well so we can lead full, active lives. That means having the tools and information to make healthy choices, and knowing the risk factors for illness. For people with disabilities, it also means knowing that problems related to a disability can be treated. These problems can include pain, depression, and a greater risk for certain illnesses. To be healthy, people with disabilities require health care that meets their needs as a whole person, not just as a person with a disability.
People with or without disabilities can stay healthy by learning about and living healthy lifestyles.
TIPS for Leading a Long and Healthy Life
1. Contraction of it is.
2. Contraction of it has. See Usage Note at its.
it's it is or it has
it's be ~have never too late to form healthy habits healthy habit Good habit, see there . Here are some tips to get you started:
* Eat healthy foods in healthy portions. * Be physically active every day.
* Don't get too much sun. * Get regular checkups.
* Don't smoke or use illegal drugs. * Use medicines wisely.
* If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation. * Stay in touch with family and friends.
* If you need help, talk with your health care professional.
What You Can Do
There are also many things you can do to make sure you are getting the best possible health care:
* Know your body, how you feel when you're well and when you're not.
* Talk openly with your health care professional about your concerns.
* Find out who the best health care professionals are in your area to meet your needs.
* Check to be sure you can get into your health care professional's office and that he or she has the staff and equipment you need.
* Think through your concerns before you visit your health care professional.
* Bring your health records with you.
* Take a friend with you, if you're concerned you might not remember all your questions and all the answers.
* Get it in writing. Write down, or have someone write down for you, what is said by the health care professional.
* Ask for help finding more information through materials like brochures, or at specific webpages on the Internet Internet
Publicly accessible computer network connecting many smaller networks from around the world. It grew out of a U.S. Defense Department program called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), established in 1969 with connections between computers at the .
Choosing a Healthy Lifestyle
The benefits of good health are obvious. If you feel better, you look better. You're more open to life and you can enjoy whatever comes your way. Good health lets you learn, work, and play--whether or not you have a disability.
With good health, people with disabilities can work, learn, and be active in all areas of life.
Although people with disabilities sometimes have a harder time getting and staying healthy than people without disabilities, there are things we can all do to get and stay healthy.
People with disabilities are twice as likely to be physically inactive in·ac·tive
1. Not active or tending to be active.
a. Not functioning or operating; out of use: inactive machinery.
b. as people without disabilities. As a result, they are less likely to stay heart healthy and to maintain strong muscles and bones.
Tips for Getting Physically Fit
To be healthy, all adults should be physically active 30 minutes a day at least 5 days each week; all children should be active for 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days each week.
* Set physical activity goals that you can reach.
* Track what you do.
* Reward yourself when you meet your goals.
* Seek support from your friends and family members. Ask them to join you in your activities.
* Don't give up. If you miss a day, don't quit. Just start again.
You Are What You Eat To help stick to a healthy diet, you can:
* Keep healthy snack foods A list of snack foods is shown below. For more information, see snack foods. List of snack foods
* Separate eating from other activities. * Plan your meals and snacks.
* Avoid fried 1. (hardware) fried - Non-working due to hardware failure; burnt out. Especially used of hardware brought down by a "power glitch" (see glitch), drop-outs, a short, or some other electrical event. foods. Try to eat foods that have been baked, steamed, roasted roast
v. roast·ed, roast·ing, roasts
1. To cook with dry heat, as in an oven or near hot coals.
2. To dry, brown, or parch by exposing to heat.
3. , or broiled broil 1
v. broiled, broil·ing, broils
1. To cook by direct radiant heat, as over a grill or under an electric element.
2. To expose to great heat.
* Enjoy fruit for dessert.
A personal story:
"For some years, I could not stand up or stretch my arms above my head. I had to use a walker. At 77, my wife and I started using a fitness club regularly. Now, at 80, I can again walk upright upright
said of limb joints and bones, especially in the horse. Indicates a lack of angulation in the joint, e.g. upright hock, or slope in a bone, e.g. upright pastern. In horses, often associated with a bumpy ride and a tendency to joint injury and lameness. and stretch my arms over my head. It's made a difference in my life, like being able to put the dishes in cupboards."
Health Care Professionals Are Responsible for Treating the Whole Person, Not Just The Disability
Sometimes health care professionals and their staffs can have some of the same wrong ideas about people with disabilities as the general public.
Some people with disabilities have reported that health care professionals have focused on their disabilities rather than on the health problems that brought them to the providers. Usually, they are not the same thing. Often, it is not easy for people with disabilities to find someone who understands this.
There could be many reasons why this occurs, including a lack of proper training. Whatever the reason, the result is often limited or incomplete treatment.
We all should expect to get the right health care.
Health care professionals can improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities by meeting the needs of the whole person.
A personal story:
"I had a doctor's appointment and the nurses moved other patients ahead of me. They thought it would take more time with me because all they saw was my wheelchair wheel·chair or wheel chair
A chair mounted on large wheels for the use of a sick or disabled person.
n . I could have had a common cold."
What Health Care Professionals Can Do
As a health care professional, the Surgeon General has treated people with disabilities, and calls on all fellow health care professionals to:
* Give each patient-including people with disabilities-the information needed to live a long and healthy life.
* Listen and respond to the patient's health concerns. Give each patient the information needed to prevent or treat a health concern-even if the patient does not ask for it. As a health expert, you should offer the information.
* Communicate clearly and directly with the patient. If your patient does not understand your questions or instructions, repeat what you have said, use other words, or find another way to provide the information.
* Take the time needed to meet the patient's health care needs.
Among nonelderly people with disabilities, 25% reported they had difficulty finding a health care professional who understood their disability. Many training and continuing education continuing education: see adult education.
or adult education
Any form of learning provided for adults. In the U.S. the University of Wisconsin was the first academic institution to offer such programs (1904). programs for health care professionals are now focusing on training them to understand disabilities.
Getting Needed Care and Services
Sometimes, we take things for granted-like being able to open a door, climb stairs, fill out a form, or see or hear someone. For people with disabilities, getting health care can be difficult because of lack of access.
People with disabilities must be able to get the care and services they need to help them be healthy.
Access can include parking spaces close to entrances, well-placed ramps or curb cuts curb cut
A small ramp built into the curb of a sidewalk to ease passage to the street, especially for bicyclists, pedestrians with baby carriages, and physically disabled people. , and doors that are wide and easy to open so that people with disabilities can get into buildings. Once inside, people with disabilities need access to counters that are low enough to reach, print that is large enough to read, and equipment that is easy to use.
A personal story:
When Jim was 3 months old, his mother was told he had cystic fibrosis cystic fibrosis (sĭs`tĭk fībrō`sĭs), inherited disorder of the exocrine glands (see gland), affecting children and young people; median survival is 25 years in females and 30 years in males. . His doctor asked Jim's mother where she wanted Jim to be in 20 years. Looking ahead, she told the doctor she wanted Jim to go to college. Working as a team, Jim's doctor and mother began to plan for his future. Jim learned early that he needed to be involved in his own health care. With support from family, school, and health care professionals, Jim took on more and more responsibility for his own health. He also learned to take care of himself by exercising, eating right, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.
Today, Jim is 24, married, working, and buying a home. He believes he has been able to enjoy a full life with-not in spite of-his disability, thanks in large part to a doctor who saw and treated him as a person with a future, and not just as a person with a disability.
Challenges for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities face many challenges, including:
* Accessibility * Social barriers * Communication
Offices, parks, health care facilities, schools, or any other public spaces should be built to meet the needs of all of the people who will use the space. Health care professionals should be able to communicate with all of the people who see them. This means making sure that:
* Parking spaces are close to entrances.
* Front entrances have ramps and curb cuts.
* Doors, inside and out, are wide and easy to open.
* Accessible routes connect all features and service areas.
* Floor spaces are free of equipment and other barriers.
* Counters and service windows are low enough for everyone to reach.
* Restrooms and dressing rooms are accessible.
* Alarm systems can be seen and heard.
* Staff and health care professionals can use or access sign language.
* Print materials and signs are in large print for people with low vision.
* Raised lettering and Braille Braille (brāl), in astronomy, a small asteroid notable because it has the same atypical geologic composition as the larger asteroid Vesta. are used on signs, such as those on elevators.
Advancing the Call
The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities was developed to help expand knowledge, understanding, and action by a broad range of people and groups. Each of us has a role to play. We can get out the message that, with good health, people with disabilities can work, learn, and enjoy long, active lives.
While disabilities are as different as the people who have them, the challenges and opportunities for people with disabilities often are similar.
All of us can and should make the effort to ensure that every person with a disability has the chance to live life to the fullest. If you accept that one person can make a difference, imagine what all of us working together can do.
References for People's Piece
The data, facts, and suggestions given here come from the following sources:
US Department of Health and Human Services. Surgeon General's call to action to improve the health and wellness of persons with disabilities. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2005.
US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity and health: a report of the Surgeon General. US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 1996.
Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The pocket guide to good health for adults. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Health Care Research and Quality: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/adguide/--Accessed September 16, 2005.
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is an American government organization that aims to "promote, encourage and motivate Americans of all ages to become physically active and participate in sports". . Ten tips to healthy eating and physical activity for you. Washington (DC): http://www.fitness.gov/IOtips.htm -Accessed September 16, 2005.
US Access Board. Federal accessibility guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. . Washington (DC): US Access Board: http://www.access-board.gov/ada-aba/index.htm--Accessed September 16, 2005.
This public document was prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the direction of the Office of the Surgeon General to make information in the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities available in plain language to improve health literacy health literacy Health care A measure of a person's ability to understand health-related information and make informed decisions about that information; HL includes interpreting prescriptions and following self care insturctions. Cf Literacy. on this topic.
Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C a.c.,
adv the abbreviation for ante cibum, a Latin phrase meaning “before eating.” .S., Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C.
Kenneth P. Moritsugu Rear Admiral Kenneth P. Moritsugu USPHS, retired in September 2007 as acting United States Surgeon General. A third-generation Japanese-American, he was appointed the Deputy Surgeon General on October 1, 1998 and named acting Surgeon General on July 31, 2006. , M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C.
Editors and Writers
Margaret Giannini, M.D., F.A.A.P., (Scientific Editor), Director, Office on Disability, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C.
Edward Brann, M.D., M.P.H., (Managing Editor), Director, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects birth defects, abnormalities in physical or mental structure or function that are present at birth. They range from minor to seriously deforming or life-threatening. A major defect of some type occurs in approximately 3% of all births. and Developmental Disabilities developmental disabilities (DD),
n.pl the pathologic conditions that have their origin in the embryology and growth and development of an individual. DDs usually appear clinically before 18 years of age. , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agency of the U.S. Public Health Service since 1973, with headquarters in Atlanta; it was established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center. , Atlanta, Georgia Georgia, country, Asia
Georgia (jôr`jə), Georgian Sakartvelo, Rus. Gruziya, officially Republic of Georgia, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,677,000), c.26,900 sq mi (69,700 sq km), in W Transcaucasia.
Eileen Elias, M.Ed., (Managing Editor), Deputy Director, Office on Disability, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C.
Theodora Fine, M.A., A.B.D., (Senior Scientific Writer), Senior Public Affairs Those public information, command information, and community relations activities directed toward both the external and internal publics with interest in the Department of Defense. Also called PA. See also command information; community relations; public information. and Policy Specialist, Office on Disability, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C.
JoAnn M. Thierry JoAnn M. Thierry, PhD, MS, CSW, (born Oct. 29, 1958) is a Behavioral Scientist with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. , Ph.D., M.S.W., (Scientific Writer), Behavioral behavioral
pertaining to behavior.
see psychomotor seizure. Scientist, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
Jennifer Cabe, M.A., Speechwriter speech·writ·er
One who writes speeches for others, especially as a profession.
speechwrit , Office of the Surgeon General, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C.
Craig Stevens Craig Stevens is the name of several people including:
Editorial and Design Team
Connie L. Whitehead whitehead /white·head/ (hwit´hed)
2. closed comedo.
1. , (Writer-Editor), Senior Writer-Editor, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
Marianne M. Miller, Communications Specialist, Northrop Grumman Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is an aerospace and defense conglomerate that is the result of the 1994 purchase of Grumman by Northrop. The company is the third largest defense contractor for the U.S. , Atlanta, Georgia
Julie Hentz, Communications Specialist, EDS (Electronic Data Systems, Plano, TX, www.eds.com) Founded in 1962 by H. Ross Perot (independent candidate for the President of the U.S. in 1992), EDS is the largest outsourcing and data processing services organization in the country. , Atlanta, Georgia
Good health is necessary for people with disabilities to secure the freedom to work, learn, and engage in their families and communities.
For More Information
For more information about healthy living with a disability, have a frank discussion with your health care professional about how he or she can best meet your needs or the needs of a person in your family with a disability. More information about the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilitie can be found on Surgeon General's website at
More advice and assistance about community living for people with disabilities is available from:
Office on Disability
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201 Telephone: 202-401-5844