Examining Determinants of Metabolic Syndrome in People With Intellectual Disabilities

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Life Span and Disability





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Introduction: There is growing evidence of an increased risk of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) in people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID). It is an emerging public health issue. People with ID are particularly vulnerable to the negative sequelae of MetS. Due to the slower learning process, people with ID find it difficult to regulate their dietary habits. Determinants of MetS in this population have not been adequately explored, which is the purpose of this study. Objectives: To identify the determinants of metabolic syndrome in people with intellectual disabilities. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in MEDLINE (PubMed), CINAHL, and Google Scholar. The following inclusion criteria were used in the selection of the articles: (1) published within the past 10 years; (2) published in the English language; (3) published in peer-reviewed journals; (4) original research concerning MetS including descriptive, epidemiological studies, and (5) focus on ID. Grey literature was not included in the search. Results: A total of nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies were found to have higher rates of MetS in the order of 25% to 45% in people with ID. Physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle, living independently in community settings, having the ability to prepare meals, being a woman, lacking access to health education programs, deficiencies in the awareness concerning health as well as the reduced opportunities of engaging in cognitive activities, especially among older-aged women, were found as the major determinants of MetS in ID populations. Conclusions: This study provides insights into certain determinants of MetS in the ID population, which has been neglected in the literature, to the best of our knowledge. Our hope is that interventions can be planned and implemented with ID populations based on the evidence, as highlighted in this study.


Intellectual disability; Metabolic syndrome; Determinants


Disability Studies | Nutrition



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