Pathways to Prevention (P2P)

Workshop Program

Can Physical Activity Improve the Health of Wheelchair Users?

December 1, 2020, 11:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. ET
December 2, 2020, 11:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. ET
December 3, 2020, 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Online via WebEx

We look forward to connecting with you during this virtual meeting! Help us spread the word using these sample messages and materials.

We’re excited to announce that the NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Can Physical Activity Improve the Health of Wheelchair Users?, originally planned for March 2020, has been rescheduled for December 1–3, 2020. The workshop will take place online only, with opportunities to submit questions and comments during open discussion periods.

Registration is required. You must register separately for each day you plan to attend in order to receive a unique meeting link for that specific day.

Please note: If you registered for the March 2020 P2P workshop, you will need to register again for each day you plan to attend the workshop.

Please reach out to if you have any questions. 


The 2010 census estimated that 3.6 million Americans use a wheeled mobility device, such as a manual wheelchair, motorized wheelchair, or scooter. This number is projected to be four times higher by 2020. Individuals who use wheeled mobility devices often experience poorer health outcomes compared to the general population. There are some distinct health challenges related to the physical effects of long-term wheelchair use, such as shoulder overuse injuries, skin breakdown, and urinary tract disorders. Wheelchair users may also encounter barriers to accessing preventive health care and getting sufficient physical activity.

Physical activity is likely to have wide-ranging impacts on the overall health of people who use wheeled mobility devices. Previously studied outcomes of physical activity interventions include balance, falls, transfers, self-efficacy in self-ambulation, depression, physical fitness, and cardiovascular health. Interventions to increase physical activity could also play a role in improving the preventive health care of people who rely on wheeled mobility devices, as well as increasing their workforce participation, independence, and quality of life.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans highlight the need for increased physical activity in the population living with disability and recommend a mix of strength training and aerobic exercise to promote wellness and prevent disease. However, both the first and second editions of the Guidelines have emphasized the need for more research to identify safe and effective types and doses of exercise.


The population of wheeled mobility device users is large, diverse, and not well defined. While several national surveys and datasets contain information about the extent of disability, few of these include data about whether a wheeled mobility device is used, the type of device, or the length or amount of use. Wheelchair use is often not reported in literature examining the effects of physical activity in populations that are likely wheelchair users. When wheelchair use is reported, much of the research focuses on alleviating the primary condition that has led to wheelchair use rather than the impact of wheelchair use on overall health. As a result, wheelchair use is an ever-present but under-studied aspect of the daily life of millions of Americans with mobility limitations.

Workshop Goals

This P2P workshop will assess the available scientific evidence through a systematic evidence review, invite numerous speakers to present their research, and engage with a community of wheeled mobility device users to better understand the potential benefits of physical activity interventions for people at risk of using, or currently using, wheeled mobility devices as a result of a disabling injury or illness. The following questions will be addressed:

  1. What is the evidence base on physical activity interventions to prevent obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions, including evidence on harms of the interventions in people who are at risk for or currently using a wheeled mobility device?

  2. What are the benefits and harms of physical activity interventions for people who are at risk for or currently using a wheeled mobility device?
  3. What are the patient factors that may affect the benefits and harms of physical activity in patients who are at risk for or currently using a wheeled mobility device?
  4. What are methodological weaknesses or gaps that exist in the evidence to determine benefits and harms of physical activity in patients who are at risk for or currently using a wheeled mobility device?

Sponsoring NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices

Continuing education credits are not offered for this workshop.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I participate in the virtual P2P workshop? How much does it cost to register?

P2P workshops are free and open to the public. You can register to attend using the links at the top of the workshop page.

There are opportunities to comment and ask questions throughout the workshop either through the WebEx Q&A function or by emailing The public is also encouraged to submit comments on the draft panel report when it is posted on the ODP website for a public comment period.

Do I have to register for each day of the 3-day virtual workshop?

Yes. Each workshop day requires a different meeting link. You will need to register separately for each day you plan to attend in order to receive the correct meeting information and reminders.

If you need help with your registration, please email us at

Will a recording of the workshop proceedings be available?

P2P workshops are VideoCast live and recordings are made available on the ODP website approximately 1 month after the workshop.

I am having trouble with the WebEx event.

If you cannot access the WebEx event, please send an email to You can also watch the livestream on NIH VideoCast

If you are in the event but are having technical difficulties, please use the chat feature in WebEx to send a message to the host.

I get an “Error Loading Player" message on NIH VideoCast.

NIH VideoCast recommends using the most recent version of Flash. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari disable Flash by default. Adobe Flash must be enabled in your browser. If you experience a loading error, use a different browser that has Flash enabled or update and enable Flash player. You can check the function of or enable Flash Player in your browser here.

Can I get a copy of a presenter’s slides?

If you would like to request a copy of a presentation after the workshop, please contact

Last updated on October 6, 2020