Additional Information

The most prevalent condition among adults with developmental disabilities is cerebral palsy (CP). Although CP is considered a childhood disorder an amazing sixty percent of people with CP in the United States are over the age of fifteen. Only recently has this group of adults become visible on the health care radar screen. Project ACT NOW is focused on learning more about the secondary conditions experienced by adults with CP. These include osteoarthritis, loss of flexibility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, musculoskeletal pain, and diminished cardio-respiratory fitness. The prevalence, causes, consequences, and severity of these secondary conditions and their relationship to loss of mobility and health related quality of life are not well understood. It is known however, that significant disparities in health and medical care are present in adults with developmental disabilities relative to non-disabled adults in North Carolina. Interventions need to be developed that take into account the disparity of access to health care in this adult group.

Project ACT NOW is focused on the health and wellness of adults with CP. It is our goal to provide a better understanding of the causes of secondary conditions as well as how these conditions can be prevented. We have designed an aquatic exercise intervention program that we hope will be able to reduce the severity of select secondary conditions and improve the overall wellness of adults with CP.


We passionately believe that select secondary conditions are improvable, if not preventable in adults with CP. Project ACT NOW will determine the feasibility of a targeted, aquatic resistive exercise intervention and provide preliminary evidence for the effects of this intervention on select secondary conditions and health related quality of life for adults with cerebral palsy. In addition, by using the cross-sectional data from this study as a foundation, we will continue the longitudinal study of risk factors associated with the development of secondary conditions to create strategies for preventing these conditions in adults with CP.

For more information about CP and exercise, please visit:


School of Medicine
Division of Physical Therapy
Center for Human Movement Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Approved by UNC-CH IRB 08/01/06
Funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Center for
Research Resources :  # 1 K23 RR024054-01

Contact Us at 919-843-8679 or 919-966-5643