Obesity in people with learning disabilities: The impact of nurse-led health screenings and health promotion activities.

David Marshall, Roy McConkey, Gordon Moore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Background: Obesity appears to be more common among people with intellectual disabilities with few studies focussing on achieving weight reduction. Aim: First, to follow-up persons identified as overweight and obese following special health screening clinics and to determine the actions taken. Second, to evaluate the impact of health promotion classes on participant’s weight loss.Method: A clinic led by two learning disability nurses was held for all persons aged 10 years and over (N=464) who attended special services within the area of one Health and Social Services Trust in N. Ireland. In a second study, the nurses organised health promotion classes for 20 persons over a six or eight week period. Findings: The health screen identified 64% of adults and 26% of 10-19 year olds as being overweight or obese. Moreover those aged 40-49 years who were obese had significantly higher levels of blood pressure. However information obtained from a follow-up questionnaire sent after three months suggested that of the 122 people identified for weight reduction, action had been taken for only 34% of them and only three persons were reported to have lost weight. The health promotion classes however led to a significant reduction in their weight and bmi scores. Conclusions: Health screening per se has limited impact on reducing obesity levels in this client group. Rather health personnel such as GPs, nurses and health promotion staff need to work in partnership with service staff, carers and people with intellectual disabilities to create more active lifestyles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-153
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Volume41
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003

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