The Activity Trap: Disabled people's fear of being active
PHE ePoster Library. Johnson E. Sep 12, 2019; 274332; 140
Elliott Johnson
Elliott Johnson
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Abstract
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Abstract Introduction
Activity Alliance members identified a fear among disabled people of losing benefits as a result of being active. Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive but at least seven in 10 would like to do more.Activity Alliance, on behalf of the Dwarf Sports Association UK (DSAuk), undertook a study to examine the issue.MethodActivity Alliance commissioned FlexMR, who employed a mixed-methods approach. An online quantitative survey of 206 disabled people measured activity levels and experiences of benefits while recruiting for a second stage. Twenty-six, with physical impairments, took part in this qualitative stage, comprising an online private ‘diary' and shared question board.
Results
65% rely on benefits to be active.47% are fearful of losing benefits if they are more active.34% have had, or know someone who has had, benefits removed as a result of being active.55% are likely to be more active if benefits couldn't be taken away.The system is ambiguous and challenging, providing insufficient information and support to disabled people who want to be more active.
Conclusion
Fear among disabled people of losing benefits is a real and quantifiable issue in increasing activity levels and a significant public health concern. As a key factor in health inequalities, physical activity must not be disincentivised by the benefits system. Work with partners, including Sport England, is ongoing to drive stronger policy alignment between government departments and agencies. This could secure substantial health, social and economic impacts for a small upstream investment. External funding details DSAuk
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