Abstract: Background: Some studies suggest that children and adolescents with intellectual disability (ID) are at elevated risk of obesity. The objective was to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with overweight and obesity among students attending special education schools in Cantabria, Spain.
Methods: Cross-sectional design. A sample of n = 220 students with intellectual disability attending seven special education schools was selected using convenience sampling. Body mass index was classified into four categories according to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria: underweight; normal weight; overweight; obesity.
Results: The prevalence of overweight/obesity was 40.9% (95% CI: 34.6-47.5). Obesity was more frequent among females (26.0%) than males (9.8%), with an OR = 3.23 (95% CI: 1.53-6.85). Participants with Down syndrome showed an increased risk of obesity compared to other conditions (p = .005).
Conclusions: The prevalence of overweight/obesity among children, adolescents and young adults with intellectual disability was remarkably high, with females in general and students of both sexes with Down syndrome at particularly high risk.
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