‘Get Healthy!’ physical activity and healthy eating intervention for adults with intellectual disability: results from the feasibility pilot

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Pilot and Feasibility Studies


Background: People with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience high rates of lifestyle related morbidities, in part due to lack of access to tailored health promotion programmes. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a tailored healthy lifestyle intervention, Get Healthy! Methods: Get Healthy! is a 12-week physical activity and healthy eating programme designed to address lifestyle-related risks for adults with mild-moderate ID. The feasibility pilot was designed to assess subjective participant experience and programme feasibility across: recruitment and screening, retention, session attendance and engagement, adverse events, and practicality and reliability of outcome procedures. Exploratory programme efficacy was assessed across the following measures: anthropometry (body mass index, weight, waist circumference), cardiovascular fitness, physical strength, dietary intake, healthy literacy, and quality of life. Results: Six participants with moderate ID and two carer participants completed the feasibility trial, representing a 100% retention rate. Qualitative data indicated the programme was well received. Participants with ID attended 75% of sessions offered and displayed a high level of engagement in sessions attended (91% mean engagement score). While most data collection procedures were feasible to implement, several measures were either not feasible for our participants, or required a higher level of support to implement than was provided in the existing trial protocol. Participants with ID displayed decreases in mean waist circumference between baseline and endpoint (95% CI: − 3.20, − 0.17 cm) and some improvements in measures of cardiovascular fitness and physical strength. No changes in weight, body mass index, or objectively measured knowledge of nutrition and exercise or quality of life were detected from baseline to programme endpoint. Dietary intake results were mixed. Discussion: The Get Healthy! programme was feasible to implement and well received by participants with moderate ID and their carers. Exploratory efficacy data indicates the programme has potential to positively impact important cardiometabolic risk factors such as waist circumference, cardiovascular fitness, and physical strength. Several of the proposed data collection instruments will require modification or replacement prior to use in a sufficiently powered efficacy trial. Trial registration: ACTRN: ACTRN12618000349246. Registered March 8th 2018—retrospectively registered, https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=374497 UTN: U1111-1209–3132.

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