Obesity interventions for people with a learning disability: an integrative literature review

Annette Jinks, Angela Cotton, R Rylance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. This paper is a review of the effectiveness of non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical interventions designed to promote weight loss in people with a learning disability and how qualitative evidence on people’s experiences and motivations can help understanding of the quantitative research outcomes. Background. The health risks of obesity underline the importance of effective evidence-based weight loss interventions for people with learning disabilities as they are at increased risk of being overweight. Data sources. Papers published from 1998 to 2009 were identified through searches of the Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Proquest, Medline (PubMed), PSYCHINFO databases, and the Cochrane Library. Review methods. An integrative review method was used. Studies included were non-surgical or non-pharmaceutical interventions aimed at weight reduction for people with a learning disability. Synthesis of the findings related to study design, participants, types of interventions, outcome measures and participant perspectives. Results. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria. The most common research design was quasi-experimental pretest and post-test. Few researchers used a clinical trial approach, and there was only one predominantly qualitative study. Interventions were mainly focused on energy intake, energy expenditure or health promotion. Only a few studies incorporated behaviour modification approaches. Conclusion. Nurses who work with clients with learning disabilities have a key role to play in the management of obesity. Future research needs to focus on qualitative studies of the perceptions of clients and their families, controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of interventions and their costs and sustainability, and longitudinal studies examining weight loss over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-471
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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