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Health and Disability in
Nearly 27% of Alaskans live with
a disability and many times experience poor health outcomes as a result.
Depending on the nature of the health condition, people with disabilities can
experience higher mortality rates and risk factors for chronic disease, fewer
screenings, and less access to health care services. Health data for disabled
populations in Alaska show the following:
- 37.6% of Alaskans 18 and older experiencing a
disability also are characterized as obese, as compared with 23.8% of all
- 41.1% of Alaskans 18 and older experiencing a
disability do not meet physical activity recommendations compared with 30.1% of
41.8% of Alaska adults with a disability have
had high blood pressure compared to 27.3% of all Alaska adults.
- 42.6% of Alaska adults with a disability have
had arthritis compared to 15.7% of all Alaska adults.
In an effort to reduce health disparities in the disabled
population, the State of Alaska’s Health and Disability Program aims to promote equity in health, prevent chronic
disease, and increase the quality of life for people with disabilities. Currently
in its second year, the program is one of only 18
nationwide funded through a 3-year cooperative agreement with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. Activities of the program follow:
- Developing accurate and timely outreach for
Alaskans experiencing disabilities, their families, and their care providers;
- Building the capacity of a disability advisory
council that reviews program activities, assists with sustainability plans, and
provides recommendations for change; and
- Providing technical assistance, training, and
other support for existing community-wide initiatives designed to improve the
health of Alaskans experiencing disability.
The grant is housed within the Section of Women’s, Children’s, and Family
Health and is a collaboration between the State of Alaska’s Department of
Health and Social Services and the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and
Special Education. Additional partners include Access Alaska, Hope
Community Resources, and the Statewide Independent Living Council.
Based on results of a
comprehensive needs assessment, work this year is focused on 4 health topics:
increasing preventive screenings, promoting healthy eating and physical
activity, decreasing tobacco use, and ensuring emergency preparedness among
Alaskans experiencing disabilities.
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
System Survey Questionnaire. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, .