Health promotion for people with intellectual disability and obesity

Type Article

Journal Article


C. M. Doody; O. Doody

Year of publication



Br J Nurs






460, 462-5


Obesity is a significant health problem for people with intellectual disability, as they report a 59% higher rate of obesity as compared with those in the general population (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). Causes are multifactorial and obesity leads to a higher risk of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. While the risks of these conditions generally increase with age, people with an intellectual disability are at risk of developing them earlier owing to their higher levels of obesity. Client groups with mild intellectual disability residing in a group home or family home are at a higher risk of obesity than those in institutional care, mainly owing to increased independence and available choices. Healthcare services have predominantly focused on the primary disability rather than on prevention or reduction of secondary health conditions. As health promotion enables people to gain control over their lives, it is essential to address the health concern of obesity for people with intellectual disability. This article highlights the issues in health care faced by people with an intellectual disability and aspects that health professionals need to consider when engaging in health promotion for those who are obese.