The lifestyle behaviours of young adults with intellectual disabilities transitioning from school to adulthood: a feasibility study

Fiona Mitchell, Gemma Stevens, Andrew Jahoda, Lynsay Matthews, Catherine Hankey, Heather Murray, Craig Melville

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Background: In the general population, the transition from adolescence to adulthood has been identified as a ‘high-risk’ period for weight gain. There has been no research examining health behaviours over this transition in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID).
Methods/design: The feasibility of recruitment, retention and relevant health behaviours were measured in 31 adolescents with mild-moderate ID. Anthropometric, objective physical activity, dietary and self-determination measures were collected over a 12-month transitional period from school to adulthood.
Results: Key results suggest weight and BMI increased significantly from month 6 to month 12 (p=0.044 and p=0.043). Waist circumference increased significantly from baseline to month 12 (p=0.049), and from month 6 to month 12 (p=0.03). Discussion: Recruiting and retaining young adults with ID over a 12 month health behaviour study is feasible. The data indicates the transition from school to adulthood may be the start of a high- risk period for weight gain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1163
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number6
Early online date28 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2018


  • intellectual disabilities
  • lifestyle behaviours
  • physical activity
  • diet
  • transition
  • weight gain prevention

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