The objective of this study is to show the utility of the newly-approved World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) as a framework for organizing data from the National Health Interview Survey describing limitations in life activities among the U.S. population. Data were obtained from the 1994 to 1995 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Disability Supplement, Phase I (n=202,569). Forty-two items were selected from the survey to operationalize selected life domains of the ICF. Results indicated a prevalence rate of 19% for at least one life-domain limitation, with rates of limitations increasing with age, lower income and less education. Movement limitations were most frequently reported across the sample, but variations occurred within demographic characteristics. Life activities by sex and race produced noteworthy differences, by race/ethnicity generally, and by sex and race/ethnicity specifically. An example of mental health issues highlighted the use of the framework for health outcomes. The ICF provides a foundational conceptual and classification system for improving disability science. These data suggest that the ICF has utility by providing data consistent with other disability measures, while providing an expanded and integrated model for science and policy. Fresh information is gleaned from organizing the data by ICF's personal activity limitations. Differences by demographics across life domains, for example, can be more clearly presented and future analyses can assess associated impairments and environmental factors, including health service planning, health promotion, and access to care. The system can frame coherent integrated public health science and associated interventions to address the health and well being of people with disabilities.