Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Project CHEER (Community Health Education and Exercise Resources) is an exciting effort focusing on accessibility of health promotion activities for individuals with varying levels of abilities.

What is CHEER?

Project CHEER is a Centers for Disease Control Disability & Health Branch funded effort aimed at addressing the startling health disparities experienced by individuals with cognitive and mobility limitations through education, empowerment, and accessibility.

The project works to develop collaborations at local and state levels focused on creating healthy resources and health programming inclusive of individuals with disabilities. 

What are Project CHEER's goals?

  1. Lower the need and use of blood pressure medications
  2. Show an increase in healthy blood pressure levels
  3. Promote a healthy lifestyle (weight, exercise)
  4. Create lasting partnerships with the community


National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)

NCHPAD is a public health resource that provides wellness and fitness tips for those living with disabilities. The organization promotes inclusive activates and consults with people with disabilities, families, policy makers and health care practitioners in the creation of their materials. The website provides an extensive and diverse wealth of information and resources for a broad range of disabilities. These resources include news and journal articles, videos and trainings.
Healthy Athletes Special Olympics
This program provides healthy services for the most underserved.  Its events educate athletes on healthy lifestyle choices and identify problems that may need additional follow-up. Through Healthy Athletes, more than 155,000 health care professionals and students have been trained to treat people with intellectual disabilities. It offers services in seven different areas. 
  • Fit Feet (podiatry)
  • FUNfitness (physical therapy)
  • Health Promotion (better health and well-being)
  • Healthy Hearing (audiology)
  • MedFest (sports physical exam)
  • Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes (vision) 
  • Special Smiles (dentistry)


Community Health Inclusion Index (CHII)

The CHII is a set of survey tools used to evaluate the extent to which healthy living resources are made available to all members of the community, including those with disabilities. The two key areas defined to aid in the promotion of healthy living are physical activity and eating healthy. This was designed due to the clear disparities present in these two categories for those with and without disabilities (see diagram for building CHII). CHII uses commonly accepted framework for community assessment in; schools, work sites, healthcare sites, community organizations and the community at large. Information gathered from the CHII helps to bridge gaps facing communities with regard to inclusion.


Twitter NCHPAD

Why do Kentuckians need CHEER?

  • Kentucky ranks 43rd, 46th and 45th in mortality rate due to heart disease, percent of adult population with high blood pressure and physical activity, respectfully

  • Challenges facing Kentucky include:

    • Lower median income

    • Highly rural population (24% vs. 6.3%)

    • Less health resources (hospitals, primary care offices, etc.)

  • Poverty has consistently been related to increased risk for poor health outcomes

Nutrition and Disability

People living with disabilities are at an elevated risk for nutritional based issues (Humphries et al., 2009). These issues stem from under or over eating, a deficit in nutritional education and negative medication related side effects. These nutritional deficiencies may be associated to the heightened risk for chronic cardiac, neurological, bone, vision, and hyposmia diseases later in life (Van Riper, 2010). As mentioned in the physical activity section, people with disabilities commonly participate in less exercise than those without disabilities. Modest weight loss through dietary alterations to control glucose levels have shown that even a small weight loss can lead to significantly safer blood pressure levels and ability to control glucose (Bazzano et al., 2009). This was seen in weight losses as small as 5% of body weight. Also, as seen with lower levels of physical activity, poor nutritional practices can lead to increased levels of obesity, which are associated to elevated medical costs (Rimmer & Yamaki, 2006).

SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.

SuperTracker is an online program sponsored by the United State Department of Agriculture for your food, fitness and health. Here you will be able to: 

  • Get your personalized nutrition and physical activity plan. 
  • Track your foods and physical activities to see your progress 
  • Get tips to help you make healthier choices and plan ahead. 

Click on the image to get started today! 

Adaptive Exercise Equipment

Forearm Trainer

Use this handy tool for days that you can't make it to the gym, or for people with limited mobility who may not be able to use traditional methods for training.

Burn Machine Speed Bag

This unique piece of exercise equipment can be used by individuals who are unable to do traditional cardio to strengthen, and increase endurance in their upper bodies.

Hand Bike

Great for toning muscles and improving improving concentration: Compact pedal exerciser can be used to strengthen arms and legs, increasing circulation, improving stamina and relieving tension for greater focus and concentration.

Helonge Finger Stretcher Exerciser

Improve your hand grip power and make your finger more flexible for athletes(rock climbing, fitness, tennis, baseball, boxing, tennis, golf and shooting) and musicians (guitar players, bass players, pianists and violinists). It can also be used for Hand Therapy, Arthritis, Joint Pains, or Release Daily Stress.

Jawzercise - Facial Muscle Strengthener

Can be used by people who may have jaw and mouth strength issues causing difficulty chewing, to strengthen these muscles and causing every day tasks to become easier.

Weighted Ropeless Jump Rope

Jump rope Suitable for all ages and all level jumpers. It is never too short or too long for, height limitless, as well as being able to be used by anyone, whether they are sitting or standing.

Resistance Loops for Exercising

These looped bands can be easier to hold onto for people with decreased hand dexterity and range of motion due to being able to just utilize the loop that is already formed in the band for grip.

CanDo Board-on-Stone Balance Ball

Could be useful to work on balance issues and core strength with people who lack the ability to use a traditional balancing ball, which is more unstable, making it more difficult to use.

Lindsey C. Mullis, MS

CHEER Program Coordinator
Human Development Institute

Health & Wellness Director

Phone: 859-218-4064

Contact Us

Human Development Institute Directory 



Twitter Special Olympics