Obesity and health behaviours of British adults with self-reported intellectual impairments: cross sectional survey

Janet Robertson, Eric Emerson, Susannah Baines, Chris Hatton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Background: People with intellectual disability have significantly higher age-adjusted rates of mortality and morbidity (including obesity) than their non-disabled peers. They are also significantly less likely to be physically active. Methods. Secondary analysis of de-identified cross-sectional data from the first two waves of Understanding Society, a new longitudinal study focusing on the life experiences of UK citizens. Interviews were undertaken with 50,994 individuals aged 16 and over in Wave 1 and 54,585 in Wave 2. Of these, 520 participants age 16-49 (1.8% of the unweighted age-restricted sample) were identified at either Wave 1 or Wave 2 as having self-reported intellectual impairments. Results: British adults with self-reported intellectual impairments have higher rates of obesity, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use and poorer nutrition than their non-disabled peers. Adjusting risk estimates for between group differences in age, gender and exposure to material hardship indicated that a significant proportion of their increased risk of obesity, tobacco use and poorer nutrition may be attributable to their poorer living conditions (rather than their self-reported intellectual impairments per se). Conclusions: People with intellectual disabilities should begin to be regarded as a 'vulnerable' group in the context of public health policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number219
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Intellectual disability
  • Health inequality
  • Severe intellectual disability
  • Material hardship
  • Poor living condition


Dive into the research topics of 'Obesity and health behaviours of British adults with self-reported intellectual impairments: cross sectional survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this