Treatment of Obesity Among Youth With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: An Emerging Role for Telenursing

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Abstract

Childhood obesity is a serious health issue, associated with medical comorbidity and psychosocial impairment that can persist into adulthood. In the United States, youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more likely to be obese than youth without disabilities. A large body of evidence supports the efficacy of family-based treatment of childhood obesity, including diet, physical activity, and behavior modification, but few interventions have been developed and evaluated specifically for this population. We highlight studies on treatment of obesity among youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including both residential/educational settings as well as outpatient/hospital settings. All interventions were delivered in-person, and further development of promising approaches and delivery via telenursing may increase access by youth and families. Nursing scientists can assume an important role in overcoming barriers to care for this vulnerable and underserved population.

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