May 10, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Inclusive Fitness Coalition (IFC) launched a new charge focusing on building inclusive health communities that provide the 54 million people living with disability in the United States equal access and opportunities for healthy living. This announcement comes as the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) are celebrating 10 years of promoting physical activity inclusion under the IFC. In 2007, NCHPAD and ACSM joined forces to begin the national initiative. More than 210 member organizations representing national and international disability, advocacy, fitness, sports, health and rehabilitation interests committed to the common vision of universally inclusive fitness opportunities now have a new charge.  Under the umbrella of a global campaign, Commit to Inclusion, the new Partnership for Inclusive Health will unite national and international organizations behind disability inclusionary practices in healthy community efforts.

This new charge to build inclusive health communities will include Guidelines for Disability Inclusion in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Program Initiatives to help people with disabilities who face significant barriers when attempting to access health and wellness activities. The Guidelinesare used to assist communities in promoting higher rates of inclusion among their members with disabilities.

Five organizations were announced as early adopters to the Partnership sharing a commitment to inclusion and ongoing inclusionary activities:

  • Active Schools is bridging the gap to resources and technical assistance for inclusion in physical education and physical activity environments to over 22,000 U.S. schools.
  • America Walks has launched the Designing for Inclusive Health Micro Grant program to foster inclusion in walking and walkable communities.
  • National Association of Chronic Disease Directors has selected five states and 10 local communities to collaboratively build healthy communities specifically designed to include people with disabilities.
  • IHRSA, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is pursuing partnerships and initiatives for the quest to increase opportunities for people with disabilities through better programming, marketing, and staff training through Universal Fitness Innovation & Transformation (UFIT).
  • The American Heart Association is committed to ensuring that ALL people have access to safe places to be physically active through our advocacy for inclusive policies, development of accessible programs and delivery of education for health and well-being regardless of ability.

Since the 2014 launch of Commit to Inclusion, more than 90 commitments have been made, reaching over 7.2 million individuals with disability internationally.  The new Partnership for Inclusive Health will further elevate these commitments and provide a forum around the charge to build inclusive health communities.

“All children deserve the benefits — and fun — of participating in physical activity.  Providing an inclusive school physical education and physical activity environment is not difficult, but it must be done purposefully.  The Partnership for Inclusive Health will provide a great network for disseminating information and tools to create Active Schools that meet the needs of students with disabilities.” – Charlene Burgeson, Executive Director of Active Schools

“At America Walks, we believe that every individual, regardless of regardless of age, ability, gender, sexual orientation or economic status has the right to walk and be physically active. The Partnership for Inclusive Health is an important step in creating communities where everyone can be healthy and active.” – Kate Kraft, Executive Director, America Walks

“Chronic diseases do discriminate against people with disabilities, and with nearly one in five Americans living with a disability, it is incumbent on public health officials to help ensure that everyone in our communities has the opportunity to lead a healthier, more productive life. As an early adopter of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors is proud to join the new Partnership for Inclusive Health to continue our work supporting all people in every state and territory in the fight against chronic disease.” – John Robitscher, MPH, CEO of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

As IHRSA and the IHRSA Foundation work with health clubs to provide programming and services to people living with disability, we are honored to work alongside our Global UFIT partners led by the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Fitness and now our Partnership for Inclusive Health partners to achieve a common goal of helping people of all abilities live longer, healthier and more active lives.” – Amy Bantham, VP of Health Promotion and Health Policy, IHRSA and IHRSA Foundation

“The American Heart Association is committed to ensuring that all people have access to safe places to be physically active regardless of ability. We work across coalitions and communities to advocate for inclusive policies. Our staff are trained to develop accessible programs and education for health and well-being. In everything we do, we strive to meet people where they are, and we are pleased to join the Partnership for Inclusive Health to increase our own ability to deliver on our commitment.”  – Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association

View the Partnership for Inclusive Health online at

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