Physical Activity Participation of Persons Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

Miyoung Lee and Weimo Zhu


Few studies were reported regarding physical activity (PA) participation among persons who are blind and visually impaired (PBVI) even though there are 14 millions of them in U.S. (Zerhouni et al., 2006). The purpose of this study was to investigate PA participation among PBVI. METHOD: Total 147 PBVI were recruited (15 to 85 years old, mean=49.5; male=49 with BMI=27.40; female=49 with BMI=29.83). Ninety one PBVI were born with the impairment, 37 were legally blind (20/200vision), and others were between 20/40 to 20/60 or not available to measure their vision acuity. Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (PASIPD; Washburn et al., 2002) was employed to measure PA participation (MET values hr/day) and ANOVAs were employed to determine group differences with α=.05. RESULT: There was no statistical difference among gender, age, and BMI groups in METs (F=.64 to 2.35, p >.05). Overall, participation in PA of males (M±SD:21.69±15.75 METh/d) and females (18.57±15.02) in this study was similar to the persons with physical disabilities in the PASIPD study (male:20.50±15.10 & female:19.9±13.5; Washburn et al., 2002). Quad cane users (25.58±19.99) showed the highest METs, and then GPS(global-positioning-system; 19.39±16.13), white cane(18.57±15.12), and guide dog(16.72±12.61) users showed next high METs. Average hours staying at home excluding sleeping time were about 10.00±5.11 hours/day, but 73 people(49.7%) participated in some exercises at home(e.g., stationary bike, lifting weights, walking on the treadmill, stretching, etc.). CONCLUSION: To promote participation of PA in PBVI, home-based intervention may be preferred.

Acknowledgement: Study supported by AAHPERD Research Consortium Seed Grant