Objectives. To determine rates and persistence of obesity in nationally representative samples of young Australian children with and without intellectual impairment and to examine the relationship between obesity and socioeconomic disadvantage. Study design. Secondary analysis of data extracted from Waves 1 and 2 of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Results. Significantly higher rates of obesity were observed among six to seven-year-old children with intellectual impairment when compared with their 'typically developing' peers (8.5% vs. 5.4%, OR1.61, 95% CI 1.19-2.17). Between-group differences in obesity rates increased linearly across early childhood. By age six to seven, 23% of all obese children had intellectual impairment. Between-group differences in obesity rates were partially accounted for by increased exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage among children with intellectual impairment. Conclusions. Increased risk for obesity is apparent in young children with intellectual impairment. Prevention and early intervention strategies for obesity will need to ensure that they are contextualised to be fit for purpose with this high-risk group of children.
- Intellectual impairment