Community Based Participatory Research:  To Address Unhealthy Weight in Individuals with Developmental Disability.    

Kathleen Fisher1, Thomas Hardie1, Margaret Oneil1, Alison Ventura1, Michel Miller2, Carolee Polek3, Mik Gregorie4, Erika Shulkusky4, Fred Loomis4, Melinda Hoagey4

1Drexel University, 2Drexel University , 3University Of Delaware, 4Kencrest Centers And Services

Aims:  Individuals with developmental disability experience greater prevalence of unhealthy weight compared to the general US population. This discrepancy is troubling, as this population experiences disparity in health care, underrepresentation in research studies, and is designated by the AMA as medically underserved. A multidisciplinary team of academic researchers partnered with a large service agency to promote healthy weight and prevent co-morbidities through improvements in nutrition and physical activity patterns. Methods: Community Based Participatory Research: Phase 1) Develop community relationships; Establish community-academic partnership; Priority setting.  Phase 2) Baseline assessment (establish prevalence); Identify unique individual and environmental facilitators, barriers, beliefs, motivations; Create unhealthy weight risk factor assessment sheet, as none exists.   Results:  The result of this collaboration was the development of the Unhealthy Weight Screening Tool. This tool allows caregivers and families to assess and monitor unhealthy weight in individuals with developmental disability and can be used as a baseline measure to monitor effectiveness of health promotion programs.   Conclusions:  In response to the high prevalence of unhealthy weight in individuals with developmental disability, we used a collaborative process involving a team of academics and a service agency to create a useful weight-screening tool. Future studies will test and validate this tool for its ability to inform future program development and healthcare policies.