Children with Intellectual Disability Are Vulnerable to Overweight and Obesity: A Cross-Sectional Study among Chinese Children

Jingjing Wang, Yang Gao*, Heather H M Kwok, Wendy Y J Huang, Siuting Li, Liping Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The epidemic of childhood obesity has been well documented in typically developing child populations, while situations among children with intellectual disabilities (ID) remain unclear. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 524 Chinese children with ID (males: 68.9%, mean age: 12.2 years) in Hong Kong in 2015. Children's height and weight were measured at school. Parents, in the presence of their children, completed a self-administered questionnaire at home about the children's physical activity (PA), eating habits, and sleep duration in a typical week as well as parenting practices regarding children's eating, PA, and their sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Of the participants, 31.3% were overweight or obese, which was higher than their typical counterparts (18.7%-19.9%). Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that overweight and obesity in children with ID were linked to their comorbidity with autism, maternal overweight and obesity, parenting practices with less pressure to eat more, children having shorter sleep duration, longer periods of sedentary behavior, and higher intake frequencies of sweetened beverages, fried food, meats, fish, and eggs. Conclusions: Children with ID are vulnerable to being overweight or obese. Identified risk factors in this study highlight a multifaceted approach to the involvement of parents as well as the modification of some children's questionable behaviors to help them achieve a healthy weight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-326
Number of pages11
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

User-Defined Keywords

  • Children with disability
  • obesity
  • prevalence
  • risk factors


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