Factors that potentially influence successful weight loss for adults with intellectual disabilities: a qualitative comparison

Laura Skelly, Philomena Smyth, MP Donnelly, J.C. Leslie, Geraldine Leader, Elizabeth Simpson, Claire McDowell

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: People with intellectual disabilities are more at risk of obesity than the general population. Emerging literature indicates that multicomponent interventions are most effective, however, individual results are variable and little research exists as to why this is the case. METHODS: Focus groups were conducted to explore lived experiences between two groups of adults with intellectual disabilities; an overweight group (n = 6) and a group identified as successful in losing weight (n = 6). Similarities and differences were explored across four domains. Transcripts were produced and analysed using Theoretical Thematic Analysis. RESULTS: Similarities included service centre supports, basic food knowledge and issues restricting independence. The successful weight loss group had also internalised health messages, engaged with external reinforcement programmes, responded to positive feedback and demonstrated healthier dietary habits. CONCLUSION: Weight management interventions would benefit from understanding the influence that internalisation of health messages, effective reinforcement systems and positive feedback can have on supporting the adoption of healthier habits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities
Early online date24 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • barriers
  • facilitators
  • focus groups
  • intellectual disabilities
  • weight loss

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