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Copy of Food for thought


Research shows that a healthy diet would improve the quality and length of most individuals’ lives. Poor diet is related to obesity and illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension.


Individuals with primary disabilities often experience “secondary conditions” – additional physical and psychological problems that limit a person’s enjoyment of life and participation in activities. Health research conducted with adults who have I/DD shows that diet affects many of their most frequently reported secondary conditions, such as fatigue, weight problems, and constipation or diarrhea. Proper nutrition can increase these individuals’ quality of life by improving existing secondary conditions and preventing additional conditions from developing.

Personal assistants and others responsible for nutrition or planning and preparing meals for adults with I/DD should read the Standards of Care and understand how to implement them. Training in safe food handling practices and basic nutrition is necessary. The Resources section lists food safety and basic nutrition training materials, including some designed specifically for supported living staff.

Minimum Standards of Care for Adults with I/DD:

1. Provide health-promoting food and nutrition supports. 2. Provide information, knowledgeable encouragement, and positive social/instrumental support (assist in grocery shopping, cooking, etc.) to help individuals make good food choices. 3. Support participation in activities that encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

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