The College Practice recognises that people with learning disabilities are more likely to be overweight (obese) than people in the general population. 

Women with learning disabilities are even more likely to be obese. People who are obese are at much greater risk of health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and mobility difficulties. 

The two main ways to reduce weight are diet and exercise. For most people, bringing their weight down to healthy levels involves both exercising more and eating healthier amounts of healthier foods as well as avoiding fattening foods and sugary drinks. 

People with learning disabilities are less likely to do regular exercise and eat a balanced diet with enough fruit and vegetables. 

Barriers to losing weight for people with learning disabilities

There are lots of reasons why it may be more difficult for people with learning disabilities to lose weight. Some people with learning disabilities don’t do exercise because they don’t know the benefits. It can take more time to cook a healthy meal than to have a ready meal. Lack of time and lack of support staff can make it difficult for people to eat healthy foods and to take exercise. 

Some places like the gym and swimming pool can be difficult to get to, expensive, not easy to access and people don’t always feel welcome.

The Annual Health Check

During an Annual Health Check at the Surgery the Nurse will help provide motivational and practical support and encourage the support worker/carer to help plan and cook more healthy meals and to be more active.

 

There are lots of easy-read resources on healthy eating and physical activity and a great video link below that follows real life stories of people living with LD who are similarly trying to make changes to lifestyles to help them live with a healthy heart. 

 

British Heart Foundation - Live With a Healthy Heart, Introduction

 

This video follows real life stories of people with learning disabilities who are trying to make changes to their lifestyles to help them live with a healthy heart.

In support of Healthy Heart Month please encourage the person you support to attend an annual health check. This is a good opportunity to think about weight management. There is an information sheet about annual health checks.

Published: Feb 18, 2022