FR Doc E9-29809[Federal Register: December 15, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 239)]
[Page 66307-66310]
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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program--Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)--Reducing 
Obesity and Obesity-Related Secondary Health Conditions Among 
Adolescents and Young Adults With Disabilities From Diverse Race and 
Ethnic Backgrounds

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-7.
AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority for a DRRP.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by 
NIDRR. Specifically, this notice proposes a priority for a DRRP. The 
Assistant Secretary may use this priority for a competition in fiscal 
year (FY) 2010 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority to improve 
rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before January 14, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to Donna 
Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 
6029, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: You must include the term ``Proposed 
Priority for a DRRP on Reducing Obesity'' in the subject line of your 
electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245-
7462 or by e-mail:

[[Page 66308]]

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of proposed priority is in 
concert with NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The 
Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 
(71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site:
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve 
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) 
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to 
facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique 
needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best 
strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for 
underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify 
mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate 
    This notice proposes a priority that NIDRR intends to use for DRRP 
competitions in FY 2010 and possibly later years. However, nothing 
precludes NIDRR from publishing additional priorities, if needed. 
Furthermore, NIDRR is under no obligation to make an award for this 
priority. The decision to make an award will be based on the quality of 
applications received and available funding.
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this proposed priority. To ensure that your comments have maximum 
effect in developing the notice of final priority, we urge you to 
identify clearly the specific topic that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from this proposed 
priority. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce 
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the 
effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this proposed priority in room 6029, 550 12th Street, 
SW., Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 
a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC, time, Monday through Friday of each 
week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international activities, to develop methods, 
procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full 
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, 
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals 
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe 
disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized 
under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    Proposed Priority:
    This notice contains one proposed priority.
    Reducing Obesity and Obesity-Related Secondary Conditions Among 
Adolescents and Young Adults with Disabilities from Diverse Race and 
Ethnic Backgrounds.
    Background: Obesity continues to be a major public health concern 
in the United States (U.S.). Overall, the prevalence of obesity in the 
U.S. doubled among adults between 1980 and 2004. More than a third of 
adults in the U.S. meet the criteria for obesity (Ogden, et al., 2007). 
Rates of obesity also increased among children and adolescents from 11 
to 17 percent during roughly the same time period (Ogden, et al., 
    Recent epidemiological studies indicate significant differences in 
obesity rates among individuals with and without disabilities (Altman & 
Bernstein, 2008; Rimmer, Rowland, & Yamaki, 2007; Rimmer & Rowland, 
2008a). Approximately one-third of all adults with disabilities were 
obese compared with only 19 percent of adults without disabilities 
(Altman & Bernstein, 2008). Children and adolescents with disabilities 
are also more likely than their non-disabled counterparts to be 
classified as being overweight. Approximately 30 percent of children 
between the ages of 6 and 18 who have limitations in walking, crawling, 
running, and playing are overweight, compared to about 16 percent of 
children in the same age group who do not have those limitations 
(Bandini, et al., 2005).
    There are also significant and well-documented disparities in 
obesity prevalence based on race and ethnicity (Altman & Bernstein, 
2008; Steinmetz, 2006). For example, in general, a greater percentage 
of non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans of all ages are obese 
compared to non-Hispanic whites (Ogden, et al., 2006).
    Despite these documented disparities in obesity prevalence between 
individuals with and without disabilities, and by race and ethnicity, 
only a few national studies have examined variations in obesity by the 
intersection of both disability and minority group status. According to 
these studies, adults with both disability and race/ethnic minority 
status have significantly higher rates of obesity compared to 
individuals with disability or minority group status only, and compared 
to those with neither disability nor minority status (Jones & Sinclair, 
2008). However, none of these studies report data specifically for the 
cohort of transition-age adolescents and young adults, approximately 15 
to 25 years of age. New analyses of extant data are needed to determine 
whether the patterns that exist for adults similarly exist for 
adolescents and young adults who have disabilities and are from diverse 
race/ethnic backgrounds. Filling this knowledge gap, as well as 
identifying other risk factors for obesity in this population, will 
allow services and interventions to be targeted to youth with 
disabilities who are most at risk of obesity or overweight status. 
Targeting such services and interventions is critical for these 
adolescents and young adults, as obesity and overweight status 
generally continue into adulthood where they can restrict health-
enhancing activities and jeopardize opportunities for community 
participation and employment (Rimmer, Rowland, & Yamaki, 2007).
    Obesity and overweight status can also have serious health 
consequences for adolescents and adults with disabilities because they 
can be precursors to secondary conditions that can complicate treatment 
of the original disabling condition and undermine functional abilities 
(Rimmer & Rowland, 2008a; Kinne, Patrick, & Doyle, 2004). Secondary 
conditions consist of additional physical or mental health

[[Page 66309]]

conditions that are directly or indirectly related to the primary 
impairment, and are generally considered preventable (IOM, 2007). 
Although numerous studies have examined the secondary conditions 
experienced by adults with disabilities (Kinne et al., 2004; Drum et 
al., 2005; Rimmer, Rowland & Yamaki, 2007), new research is needed to 
identify the obesity-related secondary conditions that are most 
commonly experienced by adolescents and young adults with disabilities, 
especially those from minority race/ethnic backgrounds. New research on 
this target population is also needed to highlight variations in risk 
factors for obesity and obesity-related secondary conditions.
    To date, NIDRR's investments in this area have increased awareness 
of the disparities in obesity and obesity-related secondary conditions 
between adolescents and adults with and without disabilities (Rimmer, 
Rowland & Yamaki, 2007; Rimmer & Rowland, 2008b). NIDRR-sponsored 
researchers have also piloted a new screening tool based on total body 
fat instead of body mass index (BMI), that more accurately identifies 
obesity and overweight status (Rimmer & Rowland, 2008a; Rimmer, 2008). 
The work to be conducted by the DRRP under this priority will build 
upon these earlier studies by providing more detailed information about 
the prevalence of obesity, the risk factors for obesity, and the 
obesity-related secondary conditions that are commonly experienced by 
adolescents with disabilities from minority race/ethnic backgrounds.
    The majority of obesity intervention studies that exist were 
conducted in controlled, rather than community-based, settings where 
most or all of the common barriers to participation in health-promoting 
activities were eliminated (Rimmer & Rowland, 2008a). However, the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $650 million to 
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ``to carry out evidence-based 
clinical and community-based prevention and wellness strategies 
authorized by the Public Health Service Act that deliver specific, 
measurable health outcomes that address chronic disease rates.'' The 
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has developed an 
initiative in response to the Act. The goal of this initiative--
Communities Putting Prevention to Work--is to reduce risk factors and 
prevent/delay chronic disease and promote wellness in both children and 
adults. It is not clear to what extent models or practices being 
implemented by projects such as these have implications for individuals 
with disabilities. Adequate research is not available related to this 
    New research is needed to identify promising, community-based 
strategies that are culturally competent and have potential to be 
effective in reducing obesity and obesity-related secondary conditions 
among adolescents and young adults with disabilities from minority 
race/ethnic backgrounds.

Altman, B. & Bernstein, A. (2008). Disability and health in the United 
States, 2001-2005. Hyattsville, MD., National Center for Health 
Bandini, L.G., Curtin, C., Hamad, C., Tybor, D.J., & Must, A. (2005). 
Prevalence of overweight in children with developmental disorders in 
the continuous national health and nutrition examination survey 
(NHANES) 1999-2002. Journal of Pediatrics, 146, 738-743.
Drum, C.E., Krahn, G., Culley, C., & Hammond, L. (2005). Recognizing 
and responding to the health disparities of people with disabilities. 
Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 3(3), 29-42.
Institute of Medicine (IOM). (2007). The Future of Disability in 
America. Chapter 5, Secondary Conditions and Aging with Disability. 
Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Jones, G.C. & Sinclair, L.B. (2008). Multiple health disparities among 
minority adults with mobility limitations: An application of the ICF 
framework and codes. Disability and Rehabilitation, 30(12-13), 901-915.
Kinne, S., Patrick, D.L., & Doyle, D.L. (2004). Prevalence of Health 
Disparities among People with Disabilities. American Journal of Public 
Health, 94(3), 443-445.
Ogden, C.L., Carroll, M.D., McDowell, M.A., & Flegal, K.M. (2007). 
Obesity among adults in the United States--no change since 2003-2004. 
NCHS Data Brief No. 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health 
Ogden C.L., Carroll, M.D., Curtin, L.R., McDowell, M.A., Tabak, C.J., & 
Flegal, K.M. (2006). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United 
States, 1999-2004. JAMA 295(13), 1549-1555. Retrieved from
Rimmer, J.H., Rowland, J.L., & Yamaki, K. (2007). Obesity and Secondary 
Conditions in Adolescents with Disabilities: Addressing the Needs of an 
Underserved Population. Journal of Adolescent Health; 41, 224-229.
Rimmer, J.H. & Rowland, J.L. (2008a). Health promotion for people with 
disabilities: Implications for empowering the person and promoting 
disability-friendly environments. American Journal of Lifestyle 
Medicine; 2, 409-420, originally published by Sage online May 22, 2008. 
Retrieved from
Rimmer, J.H. & Rowland, J.L. (2008b). Physical Activity for youth with 
disabilities: A critical need in an underserved population. 
Developmental Neurorehabilitation, April-June, 11(2), 141-148.
Rimmer, J.H. (2008). Promoting inclusive physical activity communities 
for people with disabilities. President's Council on Physical Fitness 
and Sports, Research Digest, June/July; Series 9(2).
Steinmetz, E. (2004). Americans with Disabilities: 2002. Current 
Population Reports, P70-107, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.
Thorpe, K.E., Florence, C.S., Howard, D.H., and Joski, P. (2004). The 
Impact of Obesity on the Rise in Medical Spending. Health Affairs, 
July-December (suppl. web excl.), W4-480-86.
Wolf, A.M., Manson, J.E., Colditz, G.A. (2002). The Economic Impact of 
Overweight, Obesity and Weight Loss. In: Eckel, R (Editor). Obesity: 
Mechanisms and Clinical Management. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
    Proposed Priority:
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a Disability Rehabilitation Research 
Project (DRRP) on Reducing Obesity and Obesity-Related Secondary 
Conditions among Adolescents and Young Adults with Disabilities from 
Diverse Race and Ethnic Backgrounds. The DRRP must build upon the 
current research literature on obesity and secondary conditions and 
examine existing community-based obesity prevention programs such as 
the programs being implemented by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 
in order to determine whether practices they are implementing hold 
promise for individuals with disabilities, what modifications to these 
practices may be necessary, and how individuals with disabilities might 
be incorporated into community-based programs serving the wider 
community. Applicants must identify the specific sub-populations of 
adolescents and young adults they

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propose to study by type of disability (e.g., physical, sensory, 
mental) and by race/ethnic background. Under this priority, NIDRR is 
interested in obesity as a condition that is experienced concomitantly 
with other disabling conditions, but not as a primary disabling 
condition. When identifying the specific sub-populations by race/ethnic 
background, the DRRP must select from three or more of the following 
categories: non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, American Indians 
or Alaskan Natives, Asians or Pacific Islanders, and individuals of 
Hispanic origin.
    Under this priority, the DRRP must be designed to contribute to the 
following outcomes:
    (a) Enhanced understanding of the risk factors and health 
consequences of obesity and overweight status for adolescents and young 
adults with pre-existing disabilities from diverse race/ethnic 
backgrounds. The DRRP must contribute to this outcome by conducting 
analyses of extant data sources to identify variations in rates of 
obesity and overweight status by race/ethnicity and other risk factors 
among adolescents and young adults with disabilities approximately 15 
to 25 years of age, as well as variations in obesity-related secondary 
    (b) New knowledge of promising, community-based and culturally 
competent practices for reducing obesity and obesity-related secondary 
conditions among adolescents and young adults with pre-existing 
disabilities. The DRRP must contribute to this outcome by conducting 
research to identify the key elements of culturally competent, 
community-based strategies and programs that show promise toward 
reducing obesity and overweight status for the specific target 
populations selected. The DRRP's work in this area is intended to 
identify potential interventions that can be tested and implemented in 
the future in community-based settings. Applicants must propose, in 
their applications, the specific criteria and methods they will use to 
identify culturally competent and promising community-based strategies 
and programs.
    (c) Increased translation of research findings into practice or 
policy. The DRRP must contribute to this outcome by:
    (1) Collaborating with stakeholder groups (e.g., youth and young 
adults with disabilities, families, family surrogates, rehabilitation 
professionals, and public health professionals) to develop, evaluate, 
or implement strategies to increase utilization of the DRRP's research 
findings in programs targeted to youth with disabilities; and
    (2) Coordinating with existing programs such as those being 
implemented by the CDC to obtain and share information regarding the 
applicability of promising practices for individuals with disabilities.
    (2) Conducting dissemination activities to increase utilization of 
the DRRP's research findings.
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    Final Priority: We will announce the final priority in a notice in 
the Federal Register. We will determine the final priority after 
considering responses to this notice and other information available to 
the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing 
additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection 
criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the costs.
    Discussion of costs and benefits:
    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. This proposed 
priority will generate new knowledge through research and development. 
Another benefit of this proposed priority is that the establishment of 
a new DRRP will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The 
new DRRP will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new 
information that will improve the options for individuals with 
disabilities to perform regular activities in the community.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person 
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site:
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site.

    Note:  The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at:

    Dated: December 10, 2009.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. E9-29809 Filed 12-14-09; 8:45 am]