Weight Management

Weight management is extremely important for adults with Down syndrome. These individuals have the same components of weight management as the population at large; namely, a healthy diet and regular physical activity combined in a manner that balances "calories in with calories out". But, because individuals with Down syndrome have a lower basal metabolic rate (BMR) than their non-disabled peers, they burn fewer calories while they are at rest. Therefore, regular physical activity plays an even greater role in weight management in these individuals than in the general population.

INSTANT FEEDBACK:
Persons with Down syndrome burn fewer calories at rest than their non-disabled peers.
True
False

Desired Body Weight (DBW) for adults with Down syndrome is based on the same formula as that for adults without disabilities, but with the addition of 10%:

Women with Down syndrome
Formula
For example, for woman 5 foot tall
100 pounds for the first 5 feet in height and 5 pounds for every inch over. 100 + 0 = 100
Multiply this number by 1.1 to get DBW. 100 x 1.1 110
The DBW range is 90-110 percent of this number. 99 - 121
Men with Down syndrome
Formula
For example, for man 5 foot 2 inches
106 pounds for the first 5 feet in height and 6 pounds for every inch over. 106 + 12 118
Multiply this number by 1.1 to get DBW. 118 x 1.1 130
The DBW range is 90-110 percent of this number. 117 - 143

INSTANT FEEDBACK:
The DBW range for a 5'1" man with Down syndrome is approximately 111 to 135 pounds.
True
False

Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical exercise helps adults with Down syndrome manage their weight, improve their muscle strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Organized recreation programs can be highly effective ways to motivate adults to enjoy regular physical activity, and to increase community involvement and interaction.

Unfortunately, more than half of the men and women with mental retardation living in community settings participate in little to no leisure time physical activity. On a more positive note, almost half of the adults with mental retardation participate in moderate to vigorous leisure time physical activity five or more times a week. (Draheim, Williams & McCubbin, 2002)

What differentiates the active adults from their more sedentary counterparts? Adults with Down syndrome and their caregivers identify several barriers to regular physical activity:


INSTANT FEEDBACK:
Adults with Down syndrome are less likely to engage in regular physical activity if there are transportation or access issues.
True
False


Nurses working with adults with Down syndrome can be instrumental in overcoming these barriers. Adults with Down syndrome are more likely to engage in regular exercise if they receive encouragement and instruction from others, and if they have someone to exercise with. (Heller, Hsieh & Rimmer, 2001)

In addition to encouraging the adult to exercise, the nurse can locate appropriate sources of instruction. For some adults with Down syndrome, regular group or private lessons offered at a community agency or fitness center will provide the right level of instruction and support. Others may need the services of adaptive physical education instructors skilled in working with individuals with disabilities. Adapted recreation programs, such as bowling leagues or swim programs for adults with disabilities, can be terrific sources of instruction and provide peers to exercise with.


Some good choices for leisure time physical activity for adults with Down syndrome include:


INSTANT FEEDBACK:
Team sports are not recommended for adults with Down syndrome, as they do best in individual settings.
True
False