Date of Paper/Work

10-2012

Type of Paper/Work

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy

Department

Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Karen Sames

Abstract

Within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title III mandates accessibility of all public facilities, including fitness facilities. The purpose of the study was to examine the ADA compliance of fitness facilities located in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

Twenty fitness facilities were randomly sampled within the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. Each facility was evaluated for ADA compliance using the Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments (AIMFREE) Professional Version assessment (The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, 2010). The assessment encompasses twelve domains that evaluate physical, educational, and informational aspects within a fitness facility. None of the 20 participating fitness facilities in the Twin Cities area were 100% ADA compliant with all the AIMFREE domains. The overall compliance of all 20 participating fitness facility was 48.4%. The highest scoring domains were water fountains (77.8%), bathrooms (73.4%), and elevators (71.8%). The lowest scoring domains were telephones (23.3%), facility information (32.1%), and entrance and route accessibility (39.9%). The results of the study showed the fitness facilities in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area were not compliant with ADA standards. Occupational therapy practitioners have a significant role in advocating for accessibility of public facilities, such as fitness facilities. Practitioners can collaborate with fitness facility owners to provide structural and educational resources to better accommodate the needs individuals with disabilities while participating in physical activity.

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