Bridging the equity gap: health promotion for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Health is influenced by political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, behavioral and biological conditions—either positively or negatively. Health promotion aims to make these factors more favorable through health advocacy. Advocating for physical, mental, and social health requires that individuals with I/DD have opportunities to identify and realize their aspirations, develop the capacity to satisfy their needs, and possess the ability to adapt and/or cope with the environment. Because health is both an individual and a social responsibility, effective health promotion strategies must incorporate linkages between health and development, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups where deprivation in health and economic resources exist simultaneously and reinforce each other [6]. Incorporating health and development at the core of health promotion activities addresses issues of poverty, poor health, and unemployment, while accounting for social, cultural and economic differences. Health promotion enables people with I/DD to achieve their health goals by ensuring equal opportunities and resources. This includes having supportive environments, access to information, and life skills and opportunities to make healthy choices. People cannot achieve their health goals unless they can control health determinants. Health promotion efforts require coordinated action from all interested groups (e.g., government entities, health and other social and economic sectors, nongovernmental and voluntary organizations, local authorities, industry and media), including individuals, families and communities. Community-based health promotion emphasizes community participation, along with empowerment of community members to address inequities and increase control over their health [3]. Individual satisfaction and participation are critical components in community coalitions that are providing health promotion programs. Moreover, community leadership, shared decision-making, linkages with other organizations, and organizational climate can predict satisfaction, participation, and planning. Health becomes a resource for everyday life when individuals with I/DD are empowered and can participate in health promotion activities that are based in their community.