When Walking Fails

Award Year:
Lisa Iezzoni
When walking fails, people lose easy movement essential to daily life as well as a fundamental sense of value. Available evidence suggests that about one-quarter of Americans age 55 and older have trouble walking, and almost 10 percent are unable to walk even a few blocks due to such chronic conditions as heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and arthritis. The American health care system does little to identify or address the problem, although feasible ways exist to aid mobility and improve lives. Dr. Iezzoni's research focuses on three areas: 1) the epidemiology of walking impairments among adult Americans due to chronic illness; 2) the views of persons whose walking has failed, primarily concerning perceived barriers to mobility assistance and experiences with the health care system; and 3) the attitudes of health professionals and payers concerning services to assist mobility for chronically ill persons. Her results describe barriers experienced by those with walking impairments and policy options for overcoming them.