By Christine Serbinski, Special Education; Samantha Kappes, Special Education
Advisor: Laura Nabors
Abstract: Adults with developmental disabilities face obesity and often lack knowledge about healthy eating and the importance of exercise. The current research will assess the impact of a healthy eating and exercise program for thirteen young adults with developmental disabilities. The intervention consists of teaching the young adults about the healthy eating using the Stop Light Diet with green (go foods, fruits and vegetables), yellow (eat with caution, pasta), and red foods (high fat foods, like cake and ice cream), about portion size, MyPlate, food groups and the importance of exercise. Participants also select healthy eating and exercise goals. The young adults participating in this program have college student mentors and data on their perspective of the program will be presented. The intervention is being tailored to the needs of each participant and individualized healthy eating and exercise goals are implemented and worked on each week. Change in healthy eating habits and exercise will be measured and results will be presented graphically in case studies for this presentation. It is expected that participants will learn about healthy eating and exercise and will show positive change in eating and exercise habits. Researchers also will present information about individualized eating and exercise goals, as well as factors that are barriers and facilitators to goal attainment. Studies like this one are important for educating and improving health outcomes and managing weight for young adults with developmental disabilities.