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Difficulty walking without equipment

Codes and Frequencies

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LAWALK identifies persons who had difficulty walking without using any special equipment, because of a health problem.

Special equipment, according to the 1997 Field Representative's Manual, "is any device, tool, utensil, instrument, implement, etc. used as an aid in performing an activity because of a physical, mental, or emotional problem." The same source states, "The term health problem is respondent defined, but should be limited to chronic conditions."

The variable was thus not intended to include, for example, persons temporarily using crutches due to an acute sprained ankle. Because these definitions were not routinely shared with respondents, however, some reported cases may represent short-term, acute injuries rather than chronic conditions.

The substantive material covered by LAWALK for all survey participants overlaps with two other variables limited to sample adults and sample children. For sample adults and sample children, EQUIPMENT reports on the need for special equipment of any type due to a health problem. For sample children age 2 and older, IMPMOB (Impaired mobility) identifies those with an impairment or health problem limiting their ability to crawl, walk, run, or play.


This variable is completely comparable over time except for some changes in the universe. See the Universe tab for more information.


  • 1991: Sample persons age 5 to 17.
  • 1997-2018: All persons.


  • 1991, 1997-2018