Inclusion Means Celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates its 27th anniversary this year on July 26. Each year, this date is a time for celebration and reflection on the progress made so far and the work yet to be done to ensure individuals with physical and intellectual disability have the same rights and protections as those without. The ADA is an equal opportunity law for individuals with disability that guarantees the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of American life – in access to government programs, employment opportunities, and the opportunity to purchase goods and services.
Over the past 27 years, the ADA’s prohibition of discrimination has granted access to programs and services that were previously inaccessible, however, many individuals with disability still encounter barriers for inclusion and acceptance in their communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals with disability face significant health disparities. Obesity is more common among people with disabilities than for people without disabilities and is an important risk factor for other health conditions. Individuals with disability may face a number of barriers to participation in physical activity and sports compared with people without a disability. There is work yet to be done to create inclusive opportunities for individuals with disability to improve their health.
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) believes access to and inclusion in physical activity and sport opportunities is a right that every individual should have. PCFSN works to empower individuals with disability to lead healthy, active lifestyles through our I Can Do It, You Can Do It! (ICDI) program and our role as founding partners in the Commit to Inclusion campaign.
ICDI is a national health promotion program that establishes partnerships across the nation to facilitate equal access and opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to lead healthy lifestyles that include regular physical activity and healthy eating behaviors. The program partners with stakeholders in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and community-based settings to establish ongoing programmatic and social support through a mentor-mentee relationship that provides individuals with disabilities with physical activity, sports, and/or recreation opportunities, and physical activity and healthy eating goal setting. Participants in the program are recognized for their efforts with the Council’s Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+). Across the country, 131 sites advocate and implement the ICDI program, impacting over 400,000 individuals with disability and their families.
All organizations can commit to disability inclusion in their physical activity, nutrition, and obesity programs & policies by joining the Commit to Inclusion campaign. This commitment ensures community health programs and policies are inclusive of the needs of disability and can create a stronger, healthier society for all.
On its 27th anniversary, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, everyone, regardless of ability, has a right to access physical activity and sport participation opportunities. Join us in our mission to promote this access through the I Can Do It, You Can Do It! program and Commit to Inclusion campaign. Email us at ICDI@hhs.gov to learn more about how you can become an ICDI advocate, and visit www.committoinclusion.org to learn more about the campaign and sign up your organization.