Kentucky ranks higher than the national average on rates for obesity, high blood pressure and regulatory medications, which can be explained by behavioral factors such as physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Add in a disability and the numbers are even more startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control Disability & Health Data system in 2013, Kentuckians with cognitive or mobility limitations experience higher health disparities than the general population and Kentucky ranks one of the highest rates of disability in the state at 29.9%.
Project CHEER is a Centers for Disease Control Disability & Health Branch funded effort aimed at addressing the startling health disparities experienced by individuals with cognitive and mobility limitations through education, empowerment, and accessibility. This capacity building project works to develop collaborations at local and state levels focused on creating healthy resources and health programming inclusive of individuals with disabilities.
Promoting universal design strategies that allow for full access to healthy options and programs for all people in health programing and providing free resources, training, and technical support. Project CHEER is also working on the development of comprehensive online resources in health and wellness for individuals with disabilities.
The scope of this work is building on previousstatewide scale up of HealthMatters which is a theory and evidence based health education curriculum for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This previous effort trained close to 100 program administrators and reached over 600 individuals with intellectual disabilities across the state in making positive health changes in exercise and nutrition.