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Down Syndrome and Nutrition

Weight Management in Adults with Down Syndrome

Weight management can be challenging, especially for adults with Down syndrome. Part of the reason is due to the fact that there are factors for which our understanding is limited. While a great deal has been learned, more research is being done to improve our understanding and to learn how that knowledge can be used for improved weight management through exercise, diet, supplements, and/or medications.

Factors that can affect weight for individuals with Down syndrome:

  • Hormones
  • Physical activity
  • Sleep
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Medications

What works for one person doesn't always work for another. No one plan fits all. It may be helpful to start with an assessment of problem areas. Are there times of the day or night when the person eats more? Does the person eat in response to stress or boredom? Are there particular foods that are a problem? Here are some basic tips:

  • Build a healthy dietary approach to food.
  • Reduce intake of processed foods.
  • Hydrate.
  • Review portion sizes.
  • Review the other facets of eating.
  • Consider a form of recording food intake.
  • Include the person in meal prep.
  • Prioritize physical activity.
  • Family involvement.

As we continue to learn more, there has been more discussion on addressing weight using medications and/or surgery. There may be approaches to consider and discuss with your health care provider, especially if there are health complications from obesity.

To access the full article and additional information regarding weight management and Down Syndrome, click here.