Patterns of obesity among children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in Taiwan

Jin Ding Lin, Chia Feng Yen, Chi Wei Li, Jia Ling Wu

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Background Obesity and the health problems associated with it have substantial economic consequences for health care systems. Little information is available concerning obesity-related problems among people with intellectual disabilities. The aims of this study were to analyse patterns of obesity among children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in Taiwan and to compare these data with existing national norms in an attempt to identify the scale of the problem of obesity among this population. Methods Information was collected by postal questionnaire on a total of 279 children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities (age 4-18 years). Results Sixty-four per cent of participants in the study had multiple disabilities and 40% had additional health needs. In terms of general health status, most of the persons with intellectual disabilities were reported to be in fair or good health, with 9% of them being reported to be unhealthy or very unhealthy. Body mass index (BMI) was related to age, but not to gender, morbidity or prescribed medication at the time of the survey. However, average BMI was higher than relevant population norms reported in Taiwan's Third National Nutrition and Health Survey (1993-1996). The overall prevalence of obesity was 18%, with 14% of participants aged 4-6 years, 22% of participants aged 7-12 years and 16% of participants aged 13-18 years being obese. In a multiple regression analysis of BMI, age was the only significant predictor of obesity, accounting for 8% of variation. Conclusions The findings suggest that the problem of obesity among children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities should be considered a major public health concern that warrants further attention in health care systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2005
Externally publishedYes



  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Intellectual disability
  • Obesity
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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