One quarter of Korean children with ID are overweight or obese

By Hyunju Park
Gachon University, Seongnam, South Korea

Children with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at a higher risk for overweight and obesity due to unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, and/or particular genetic syndromes. Most studies on obesity in children with ID have highlighted specific genetic syndromes, particularly Down syndrome. Little attention has been focused on the rate of overweight and obesity in children with ID without specific genetic syndromes or physical disabilities.

What did you do in your research?
We wanted to identify the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Korean children with ID. The children attending special schools who were between ages 7 and 18 years and did not have specific genetic syndromes or physical disabilities participated in this study.

What did you find out?
About one-quarter (25%) of children with ID who did not have specific genetic syndromes or physical disabilities were either overweight or obese. Girls tended to be more overweight or obese than boys. In particular, girls aged 15 to 18 years had the highest rate of obesity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity increased with age for both genders.

What are the take-home messages?
Children with ID who do not have specific genetic syndrome or physical disabilities are also at risk for overweight or obesity compared with non-disabled children. There is a need for programs to help children achieve healthy weight.

To learn more about these findings contact
Yeongmi Ha.

Full Journal Article
Choi, E., Park, H., Ha, Y., & Hwang, W. (2012). Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity In Children With Intellectual Disabilities In Korea. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25(5), 476–483.