Overweight and Obesity Reduced as a Result of a Multicomponent Program for Adults with ID

Fermin Martinez-Zaragoza, PhD
Department of Health Psychology, University Miguel Hernández, Elche, Alicante, Spain

Overweight and obesity prevalence in people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are usually higher than in the general population. This also poses an increased risk for health related problems, constituting an evident health inequality.

What did you do in your research?
Given the moderate effects of some previous programs to cope with overweight and obesity in people with ID, an integrated program of treatment was designed. The present study assessed the effects of a multicomponent intervention program by improving participants’ energy balance in order to achieve weight loss and improve cardiovascular capacity. Six trained instructors carried out the intervention with 64 participants with ID, from a community occupational day center in Spain. The first month of the program focused on education related to diet and exercise and personalized health measure reports. The treatment stage, lasting 17 weeks, included education, diet and exercise, and the final stage included reports from the study. Measures were taken at baseline as well as at a 6-month follow-up period.

What did you find out?
Participants achieved a substantial reduction in weight, maintained even at six months post treatment. Moreover, participants who engaged in intense exercise lost more weight. But the group who involved in intense activity also regained more weight than the group that performed light activity. Significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was confirmed, although the results are less conclusive for heart rate changes.

What are the take-home messages?
A multicomponent program, based on physical activity, diet and motivation is effective in reducing overweight and obesity, and in improving the cardiopulmonary capacity of a group of people with ID from a non-residential institution in Spain.

To learn more about these findings contact Fermin Martinez-Zaragoza.

Full Journal Article
Martínez-Zaragoza, F., Campillo-Martínez, J. M., & Ato-García, M. (2015). Effects on Physical Health of a Multicomponent Programme for Overweight and Obesity for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities.