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Improved opportunities for good health and wellbeing needed for Victorians with disability

Improved opportunities for good health and wellbeing needed for Victorians with disability
December 3, 2018

Discrimination and exclusion is taking its toll on the health of Victorians with disability, with new VicHealth research released today highlighting significantly lower levels of physical activity and mental wellbeing among Victoria’s disability community. 

The research showed Victorians with disability are significantly less physically active (40%) than Victorians without disability. People with disability were half as likely to feel safe walking around their neighbourhood during the day and experienced significantly lower levels of life satisfaction and self-reported mental wellbeing. 

Released on the International Day of People with Disability, the study of over 22,000 Victorians, including more than 6,300 people with disability found: 

• People with disability were 40% less likely to be physically active than people without disability. 
• This physical activity gap widened with age: 18–34 were 20% less likely; 35–64 were 30% less likely; 65+ were nearly 50% less likely. 
• People with disability were 25% less likely to feel positively about their neighbourhood and half as likely to feel safe walking around alone during the day as people without disability. 
• People with disability were a third more likely to eat takeaway food than people without disability. 
• People with disability experienced significantly lower mental wellbeing, resilience and life satisfaction than people without disability. 

VicHealth Chief Executive Jerril Rechter said the research showed the critical need to improve inclusion and accessibility and provide more opportunities for people with disability to participate in all aspects of society.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to experience good health and happiness. However, this new research shows Victorians with disability are missing out on opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing,” Rechter said. 

“It’s unsurprising that people with disability are less active than those of us without disability, as they have less opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity. 

“We also know that people with disability are also much less likely to feel safe in their communities. It’s unacceptable that Victorians with disability don’t feel safe walking around their local area alone during the day. 

“This research shows we need to do a lot more to make Victorians with disability feel welcome, safe and supported in our sports clubs, our gyms, our streets and our neighbourhoods. 

“That’s why VicHealth has a focus on health equity throughout our work. It’s about increasing opportunities to be healthier for everyone, especially those who are facing the greatest obstacles.”

Image : 2018 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Festival
With over 40 exhibitors and three activity zones, the Disability Sport and Recreation Festival is an accessible, family-friendly event that promotes physically active lifestyles for people of all abilities.
Mon 3 December 10am-3pm
Crown Riverwalk
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank 

Related Articles

11th October 2018 - VicHealth’s wellness and activity promotion recognised with Australasian Leisure Management award

4th August 2014 - VicHealth looks for new ideas to get more Victorians physically active

29th November 2018 - ESSA highlights the key role of physical activity in breaking down disability barriers

7th October 2014 - VicHealth announces new initiative to get more women and girls involved in sport

7th January 2010 - Study on Disability Participation in Sport and Recreation

3rd December 2017 - Physical activity can play a key role in breaking down disability barriers

30th November 2016 - New guide helps councils meet National Disability Strategy obligations

14th January 2010 - VicHealth awards head to Alcohol and Obesity Policy Coalitions

8th May 2017 - VicHealth continues to provide funds for walking initiative

7th June 2016 - VicHealth grants back grassroots sporting clubs

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