Studies show individuals with disabilities are more likely to report physical inactivity, less access to adequate health care and poorer overall health compared to people without disabilities. However, most people with disabilities report their overall health to be good, very good, or excellent, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

About half of respondents with disabilities surveyed in the recently completed, Pathways to Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities Study, note they are in good health. For virtually everyone, being healthy means getting and staying well in order to lead full, active lives. However for the 57 million adults in the US with disabilities, there is limited access to the tools and information necessary to make healthy choices and the knowledge about how to prevent illness.

“People with disabilities need and want health care and health programs for the same reasons as anyone else,” says Lightspeed All Global’s Amber Leila Esco, VP Business Development US and current President of Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group (PMRG). “They want to stay well, lead full active lives, and be a part of the community. While their aspirations to stay healthy are the same as their able-bodied counterparts, the journey to get there is uniquely different and often lacks access and adaptability to their needs,” continues Ms. Esco.

People with disabilities encounter many accessibility and adaptability constraints that negatively impact their ability to stay healthy, according to the Pathways to Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities study. Assembled by Kantar-ownedLightspeed in partnership with disABILITYincites using a sample of 5,000 people with disabilities, the study examines the segment’s consumption behaviors, unmet needs due to accessibility challenges, and other areas of focus never measured before that depicts the disability journey. It represents the most comprehensive research to date about the unmet needs of people with disabilities and uses the largest US panel of adults with disabilities ever assembled.

DisABILITYincites Founder and Executive Director, Tonya Deniz, says, “Accessibility as it relates to health programs for people with disabilities extends far beyond ramps and lifts in hospitals and medical facilities to include better packaging and labeling of medications, accessible websites, better phone and in-person support by healthcare professionals and insurance companies who interface with people with disabilities. It also includes adaptive exercise programs, better equipped fitness and wellness centers and informed staffs trained to address the specific needs of people with disabilities.”

Notes Daniel S. Fitzgerald, Lightspeed’s Chief Client and Marketing Officer, “Our research shows only half of people with disabilities exercised in the past 12 months and only 20% report having exercised 10 plus times in the past year.” The Study shows the more physically challenging the disability is, the less likely people with disabilities exercise.” Continues, Mr. Fitzgerald, “Our research finds people with mobility and/or dexterity difficulties, which includes people who use wheelchairs and scooters, are 66% less likely to exercise than people with cognitive disabilities, e.g., brain injuries, genetic disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity and other learning disabilities). Additionally people who are deaf or hard of hearing are 76% less likely to exercise than people with cognitive disabilities. We are thrilled to sponsor this foundational and enlightening new research in the field of disabilities in conjunction with disABILITYincites.


When asked about fitness clubs, gyms and other exercise facilities in terms of the physical environment (e.g., sufficient lighting, wide entry ways, ramps/elevators, available parking for people with disabilities, etc.) meeting their overall needs, only 42% of people with disabilities report feeling satisfied according to the Pathways Study. The number drops to about 1/3 reporting feeling satisfied with these type businesses when it comes to disability awareness by business staff and web accessibility, phone support and information access for people with disabilities.


The release of this data coincides with the 8th Annual Meeting of the PMRG Institute, a gathering of thought leaders in the healthcare market research industry. As President of the organization, Ms. Esco will provide the 2014 conference opening remarks.

“People with disabilities are not a homogenous group and they vary in terms of their access needs,” says Ms. Deniz. According to the Pathways Study, people with vision, mobility and dexterity access needs are least satisfied with web accessibility and phone support provided by fitness clubs and gyms. “Most websites,” says Ms. Deniz, “are not designed with an understanding about web users with disabilities. As a result most websites and web software have accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for many people with disabilities to use the web.”

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passing of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), results from thePathways for Greater Inclusion Study will be made available in mid-2015.

About Lightspeed All Global
Lightspeed All Global provides healthcare professional and patient community solutions, utilizing a powerful healthcare panel. With a long heritage as an innovator in healthcare research, Lightspeed All Global offers high quality healthcare research services for top global research companies and agencies across Europe, North and South America and Asia-Pacific. Employing a combination of research methodologies – qualitative and quantitative, online and traditional, Lightspeed All Global’s reach expands to more than 450,000 general practitioners and specialists worldwide.

Headquartered in New York and London, Lightspeed All Global is a brand of the Lightspeed Group and part of Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, the world leader in marketing communication services. For more information, visit

About disABILITYincites
DisABILITYincites is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that promotes research about consumers with disabilities in an effort to level the playing field for 57 million people with disabilities. The company is the only one of its kind to pro-vide research development, technical services and research advocacy specific to eradicating the exclusion of peo-ple with disabilities from the on-going, comprehensive market research investigations that are conducted daily in the US to ascertain the unmet needs of the general population and sub-segments. With viable solutions in the form of new products and services borne out of re-search that reveals their unique challenges, people with disabilities can live more independently and embrace their aspirations while more fully participating in all areas of life.

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