A recent study from Turkey examined the eating habits of 20 people who have Down syndrome. Even though the study represents a different culture, it is always interesting to learn from any information that exists, especially when it comes to adults with Down syndrome.
The complete study is included below and can be accessed online at the Journal of Human Sciences.
Some of the highlights:
- “When the participants were asked, “Are you trying not to eat some foods because they cause you to gain weight?” All of the responses from the participants were “No, I cannot give up, because I love to eat”. This situation supports the fact that individuals included in the research could not control their weight. This result shows that the individuals included in the research do not have the knowledge that obesity may threaten their health. For this reason, it is essential to educate these individuals about nutrition. Nutrition education should be given both to individuals with down syndrome and their parents.
Participants were asked the question “Would you like to eat even if you are full?”: While 17 participants said “Yes, I do”, 3 participants used the word “sometimes”.
The participants were asked the question “Do you feel hungry too often?”: While 13 participants used the phrase “Yes, I am always hungry”, 6 participants answered “sometimes”. The last participant said, “No, I don’t feel hungry often because I eat a lot.
When the findings related to the nutritional habits of the individuals are examined, it is seen that none of the individuals skipped meals. While the number of meals of 17 (85.0%) of the individuals is 3, the number of meals of 2 (10.0%) is 5 and the number of meals of 1 (5.0%) is 4. Itis a good eating habit to consume 3 meals in a day to have a sufficient and balanced diet.”
“These results support the fact that individuals with Down syndrome included in the study love to eat, they cannot control themselves too much about food consumption and do not try to pay attention to their weight. In the study, it was found that 30% of children with Down syndrome has obesity. Obesity generally consists of a combination of overeating and immobility. However, another factor is that children are rewarded with sugar and high-
calorie foods for their activities (Riley and Gersh, 2013). In our study, it was determined that the majority of the individuals with Down syndrome included in the study were in the group of obese and slightly obese. Obesity is a risk factor for various chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. For this reason, parents and teachers have a big and important duty. Starting from a young age, children with Down syndrome should be given nutritional education with the cooperation of parents and teachers, and the individual should prefer healthy ones in food selection and develop and maintain those positive eating habits. In addition, efforts should be made to increase the physical activities of children and direct them to sports activities, and it should be made to transform this situation into a lifestyle. Nutrition education can be given to individuals with Down syndrome in cooperation with family and teachers. Nutrition education at early ages will help prevent obesity, type II diabetes, various vitamin and mineral deficiencies encountered by individuals with Down syndrome (Mazurek and Wyka, 2015).”