Some facts about how caregivers, friends, and family may affect health behaviors of people with disabilities:
Evidence suggests that the health-related attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of caregivers serve as key barriers or facilitators achieving meaningful and sustained health improvements in individuals with disabilities.
Caregivers who may not even be aware of the need for positive health behaviors, and who are neither invested in nor capable of demonstrating these behaviors themselves represent a powerful competing force in the lives of individuals with disabilities as they work to improve their diet and exercise habits to combat obesity. Unfortunately, quitting smoking is likely also a health challenge for caregivers.
Although research is limited, studies suggest that caregivers for individuals with disabilities engage in higher rates of dangerous health behaviors such as poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, and cigarette smoking.