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Promoting healthy aging in adults with developmental disabilities.

Authors
  • Heller, Tamar1
  • Sorensen, Amy
  • 1 Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 626), University of Illinois at Chicago, 1640 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois 60608, USA. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental disabilities research reviews
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Volume
18
Issue
1
Pages
22–30
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/ddrr.1125
PMID: 23949826
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article reviews the research on health promotion for adults aging with developmental disabilities. First, it examines barriers to healthy aging, including health behaviors and access to health screenings and services. Second, it reviews the research on health promotion interventions, including physical activity interventions, health education interventions, and health care and screening preventive services. This review found evidence that the three types of health promotion interventions, physical activity and exercise, health education and mixed approaches, and health care and screening services can play a role in reducing health disparities for adults with developmental disabilities. Studies focusing primarily on physical activity and exercise tended to show improved fitness and some success in reducing obesity, reducing maladaptive behaviors, and improving alertness, though none of these studies showed longer term health benefits. The studies that took a more holistic approach by also including exercise and nutrition health education tended to show some evidence not only for changes in weight reduction but also for changes in health behavior attitudes (exercise self-efficacy, outcomes expectations, and barriers) and behaviors (e.g., dietary intake) and to a limited extent for improved life satisfaction. The literature on health screenings and services demonstrated the important role of health checks in identifying previously undetected conditions. These conditions include life threatening ones such as cancer and cardio-vascular disease, as well as less serious conditions that are often more common among adults with developmental disabilities and could be treated if caught early.

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