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Research

Barriers to Weight Management

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Women with disabilities encounter significant barriers to weight management.

Both men and women with disabilities confront disability-related, environmental, and other barriers to weight management. These barriers include constraints in physical activity and healthy diets.

Women with disabilities encounter serious barriers to increasing physical activity. These include lack of transportation, money, and accessible fitness centers, lack of knowledge about capabilities for exercise, lack of knowledge or skills needed to engage in physical activity, lack of social support, concern with crime, and fatigue and pain.

Women with disabilities also encounter several barriers to healthy diet. Women with severe mobility impairments may rely upon a personal assistant or family member for meal preparation and grocery shopping. This may present difficulties when a woman with a disability wishes to change her lifestyle and engage in healthier eating habits. Having a mobility limitation or experiencing fatigue or pain may also cause a woman to make unhealthy food choices that are more convenient or easier to prepare. Furthermore, women are often frustrated by the inability to obtain dietary information that takes their disability or condition into consideration. Some research suggests that certain conditions and disabilities may alter a woman's nutritional needs.