Technology-based Interventions to Improve the Nutrition and Health of Intellectually/Developmentally Disabled Persons

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

1001 GREEN BAY STE 195
Winnetka, IL 60093
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience poor nutrition, obesity, and other serious health problems at significantly higher rates than those in the general public. The incidence of obesity among people with IDD is 50%, almost double the rate exhibited by mainstream Americans. Similar discontinuities exist with diseases such as diabetes and hypertension within this population. There are genetic, metabolic, and pharmacological reasons for these elevated rates and previous attempts to improve the health of people with IDD, employing exercise routines and education, have been neither efficacious nor sustainable. Recent programmatic interventions focusing on diet and the nutritional intake of people with IDD have been much more successful in improving their quality of life and dietary patterns, as well as reducing the rate of serious secondary medical conditions. A Phase I study at a social service agency that residentially supports people with IDD, found that caregivers in group homes experienced significant increases in their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors towards nutrition and healthy eating. And through using these web-based interventions and the documentation from the Mainstay nutrition program, the people with IDD supported by the caregivers have experienced material improvements in Healthy Eating Indexes, Body Mass Indices, health status indicators, as well as more cost-effective, diverse meals and menus. The Phase II randomized trial will occur over a larger sample size that is more geographically dispersed. It will test the differing impact of a range of revised interventions on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of the staff that support people with IDD, along with measuring the nutrition, health and operating parameters mentioned above among the individuals with IDD. In this way, we will determine the tradeoff among efficacy, cost and implementation outcomes for various intervention alternatives. The results of the larger trial will have significance to the quality of life and quality of health for the five million people with IDD in the nation. In addition the outcomes will influence policy for the organizations as well as the state and federal government entities providing services and funding to this population.