Obesity and people with intellectual disability – A Quantitative Research Project

Author(s): Eileen Costello-Conneely, Service Quality Manager, Abilty West, Galway

Department: Ability West

Keywords: Obesity, overweight, exercise habits, moderate intellectual disability, age category of 25-55 years.

(01 Dec 2006)

Title: Obesity and people with intellectual disability – A Quantitative Research Project

Is there an association between being overweight and eating and exercise habits among Irish adults with moderate intellectual disability in the age category of 25-55 years, taking a sample from one service?

Year:  2006

Author(s):  Eileen Costello-Conneely, Service Quality Manager, Abilty West, Galway

Abstract:

To look at, and review the subject of obesity and adults with intellectual disability, specifically – To what extent are Irish adults with Intellectual Disability overweight? Can we demonstrate the link between overweight and lifestyle?

The project was undertaken with a sample number of service users from TEAM Products Employment Centre, with the aim of attempting to answer above questions and as part of studies, to gain knowledge and experience of the research process.

A quantitative approach was adopted. Method used was through questionnaires, completed by interviews on a one to one basis of approximately 20 minutes duration. Some measurements were also undertaken by service users on their own in some cases, and others with assistance. Data from the questionnaires was analysed as part of the research project, and feedback given to participants.

Participants were randomly selected, ensuring that a representative sample was obtained from each criteria of age, gender and range of intellectual disability. A listing from the Client Database with I.D. numbers, date of birth and level of intellectual disability was obtained and sample of 6 subjects drawn from the total of 33 in attendance at the centre.

Findings

It might be expected that an association could be demonstrated when reviewing the results of weight, eating habits and exercise, however, the results of this study would appear to indicate that such a link can not be proved. For example, all respondents (n=6) report consuming above the recommended portions in the sugar and fats category and well below the recommended portions of fruit and vegetable, however, 4 respondents are in the healthy weight range according to the BMI measure. 

While, in a small number of cases, there seems to be a link between some areas, for example, 2 respondents who are within the healthy range also undertake the recommended level of physical activity, however, they do not consume the recommended food intake as per the food pyramid. 

Taking the results into account, it is not possible to show an association between overweight, diet and exercise, specifically on one study alone, and also taking account of the small sample size. 

Organisation (Department):       Ability West

Keywords:       Obesity, overweight, exercise habits, moderate intellectual disability, age category of 25-55 years.

Journal:  Part of studies – B.A. in Applied Social Studies (Disabilities)

(May be used by the Open Training College as part of a larger research project)



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