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Xinling Xu, Orgul D. Ozturk, Margaret A. Turk and Suzanne W. McDermott

Background: This study evaluated the effect of increased physical activity on annual medical expenditures among people with disability, as well as people without disability. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study with linked national survey data from 2004 to 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and from 2002 to 2012 National Health Interview Study. We investigated the effect of physical activity on the annual medical expenditures in 2013 US dollars, among people with and without disability who were 18- to 64-year-old adults. Results: For people with disability, we found a statistically significant effect (P < .05) of physical activity on annual medical expenditures. Among people without disability, being inactive was associated with higher medical expenditures, compared with being sufficiently active. In our counterfactual analysis, among inactive people with disability, increasing activity to even a low level of activity could potentially save on average $2150.06 (95% confidence interval, 770.39 to 3529.72) annual medical costs. Conclusions: This analysis provides evidence that when an individual with a disability moves from inactive to active, the savings in medical expenditures are substantially larger than the savings for an individual without a disability ($2564.33 vs $393.34). Despite the challenge of participating in physical activity for people with disability, completing “some” activity may have large public health implications.

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Viswanath B. Unnithan, Ellinor M. Kenne, Lynne Logan, Scott Collier and Margaret Turk

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of partial body weight support on the oxygen cost of treadmill walking in children and adolescents with spastic cerebral palsy (CP). Five children and adolescents (2 girls and 3 boys) with spastic CP (12.4 ± 3.6 years) volunteered for the study. Participants performed three 4-min tread mill walks on three separate days at their comfortable treadmill walking speeds. At each visit a different partial body weight harness setting was used. Significant (p < .05) differences in oxygen cost were found when the harness was worn but not connected to the support frame. Partial body weight support reduces the oxygen cost of walking in children and adolescents with spastic CP.