ADA compliance and the accessibility of physical activity facilities in western Oregon.

Objective: One of the mandates of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is to address the accessibility of public facilities for all people. The aim of this study was to determine how compliant physical activity facilities in western Oregon were with regard to Title III of the ADA. Comparisons were also made with the findings of a study conducted 5 years prior in a different geographic region.

Methods: On the basis of direct observations and physical measurements taken during on-site visits to 50 physical activity facilities located in western Oregon during 2000-2001, facility compliance with Title III of the ADA was characterized in terms of 10 structural domains.

Results: No facility was found to be 100% ADA-compliant. Exterior entrance/doors (90%) and telephone accessibility (88%) were the areas where compliance was highest, whereas accessibility to and around exercise equipment (8%) and customer service desk (37%) were areas lowest in compliance. Relative to a previously published study, the facilities in western Oregon showed greater rates of ADA compliance in six of the 10 structural domains evaluated.

Conclusion: There is an on-going need and legal mandate for increasing the accessibility of physical activity facilities. Furthermore, from a social-ecological perspective, the environmental constraints identified in this study might be limiting factors in efforts aimed at increasing individuals with disabilities’ physical activity involvement.