Exploration of diet, physical activity, health knowledge and the cardiometabolic profile of young adults with intellectual disability

C. C. Zwack, R. McDonald, A. Tursunalieva, G. W. Lambert, E. A. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Young adults with intellectual disability (ID) are experiencing early mortality, and it is suggested that they are living with undiagnosed cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors (hereafter referred to as cardiometabolic). Methods: We investigated the association between modifiable risk factors and cardiometabolic health profile in adults with ID aged 18–45 years through clinical evaluation of traditional cardiometabolic parameters, and assessment of physical activity levels, diet and associated health knowledge. Results: We found that young adults with ID have an increased obesity (mean body mass index; ID group: 32.9 ± 8.6 vs. control group: 26.2 ± 5.5, P = 0.001), are engaging in less physical activity than the age-matched general population (total activity minutes per week; ID group: 172.2 ± 148.9 vs. control group: 416.4 ± 277.1, P < 0.001), and overall have unhealthier diets. Additionally, knowledge about nutrition and physical activity appears to be an important predictor of cardiometabolic risk in this population. If young people with ID are to improve their cardiometabolic health to reduce morbidity and early mortality, we need to further explore how to consistently apply health messaging to get lasting behavioural change in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-532
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • cardiometabolic risk
  • intellectual disability
  • knowledge
  • nutrition
  • physical activity

Cite this