Healthy lifestyles for adults with intellectual disability: Knowledge, barriers, and facilitators

Sue Caton*, Darren Chadwick, Melanie Chapman, Sue Turnbull, Duncan Mitchell, Jois Stansfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: People with intellectual disability (ID) are more likely to have health problems than people without disability. Little previous research has investigated health from the perspective of the people with ID themselves. We aimed to focus on what people with ID understand being healthy to mean and what their experiences are of healthy lifestyles.

Method: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 adults with ID to ask them about their health and healthy lifestyles. Data were analysed thematically.

Results: Participants demonstrated understanding of what it means to be healthy, have a healthy diet, the dangers of substance misuse, and the benefits of exercise. Participants demonstrated some knowledge about rationales for engaging in healthy behaviours. The idea of moderation was raised, along with barriers and facilitators to engaging in a healthy lifestyle.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that people with ID demonstrate some understanding of what constitutes being healthy and are aware of healthy lifestyles, the consequences of unhealthy behaviours, and of the need for moderation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-259
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Issue number3
Early online date2 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • intellectual disability
  • learning disability
  • health
  • healthy lifestyles
  • diet
  • exercise


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