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Open Access Review

Weight management interventions in adults with intellectual disabilities and obesity: a systematic review of the evidence

Dimitrios Spanos12, Craig Andrew Melville2 and Catherine Ruth Hankey3*

Author affiliations

1 College of Medical, Veterinary and Medical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK

2 Learning Disabilities Psychiatry, College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences, Institute of Mental Health & Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 0XH, UK

3 Human Nutrition, College of Medical, Veterinary and Medical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Level 2, New Lister Building, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:132  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-132

Published: 23 September 2013

Abstract

To evaluate the clinical effectiveness of weight management interventions in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and obesity using recommendations from current clinical guidelines for the first line management of obesity in adults. Full papers on lifestyle modification interventions published between 1982 to 2011 were sought by searching the Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL databases. Studies were evaluated based on 1) intervention components, 2) methodology, 3) attrition rate 4) reported weight loss and 5) duration of follow up. Twenty two studies met the inclusion criteria. The interventions were classified according to inclusion of the following components: behaviour change alone, behaviour change plus physical activity, dietary advice or physical activity alone, dietary plus physical activity advice and multi-component (all three components). The majority of the studies had the same methodological limitations: no sample size justification, small heterogeneous samples, no information on randomisation methodologies. Eight studies were classified as multi-component interventions, of which one study used a 600 kilocalorie (2510 kilojoule) daily energy deficit diet. Study durations were mostly below the duration recommended in clinical guidelines and varied widely. No study included an exercise program promoting 225–300 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity per week but the majority of the studies used the same behaviour change techniques. Three studies reported clinically significant weight loss (≥ 5%) at six months post intervention. Current data indicate weight management interventions in those with ID differ from recommended practice and further studies to examine the effectiveness of multi-component weight management interventions for adults with ID and obesity are justified.

Keywords:
Intellectual disabilities; Obesity; Weight loss