Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Are We Eating Ourselves into Disability?

A look at the latest disability statistics reveals a disturbing figure: nearly one in ten Americans has trouble walking or using stairs, according to the new report on disability released by the Census Bureau. A substantial 11 percent of people aged 15 or older have difficulty with these basic physical tasks. Among people aged 25 to 64, who cannot claim age as an excuse for their disability, a still substantial 8 percent—or nearly one in 12—has trouble walking or using stairs.

Difficulties walking and climbing stairs are the most common disabilities, and Americans' growing girth certainly plays a role in turning these basic functions into daily challenges. With apparently no end in sight to the American weight gain, these difficulties are likely to have a growing impact on shopping malls, theme parks, museums, public transportation, and disaster preparedness.

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