Body mass index for adults with intellectual disabilities: A survey of caregivers in Taiwan

Chia Feng Yen, Jin Ding Lin, Chi Wei Li, Jia Ling Wu, Jiunn Tay Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study assessed the prevalence of obesity and its determinants among adults with intellectual disabilities and compared these with existing national standards in Taiwan. Methods: Data on weight and height of 516 adults with intellectual disabilities were obtained from a cross-sectional questionnaire completed by the subjects' caregivers. Results: The prevalence of disease in adults with intellectual disability was 50.3%. A total of 68.7% of the sample population had multiple disabilities that required varied and continued healthcare services. Body mass index (BMI) was used as a measure of obesity. We found that 15.7% of the adults with disability were overweight but not obese (24.0 ≦ BMI < 27.0) and that 23.6% were obese (BMI ≧ 27). Chi-square analysis showed that obesity was related to current health status and comorbidity. A stepwise multiple regression model showed that BMI was significantly correlated with age, having an illness, and taking medicine regularly (r2=0.045). However, BMI was not correlated with sex, the level of disability, medical visits, health status, or residential status, nor was an elevated BMI accompanied by other disabilities. Conclusions: This is the first study to report the distribution of BMI in a population of adults with intellectual disability in Taiwan. The prevalence of obesity and its association with health status and comorbidity suggest that obesity in adults with intellectual disability should be considered a major public health concern that warrants further attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Body mass index
  • Intellectual disability
  • Obesity
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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