The Effects of A Combined Exercise, Healthy Diet, and Dental Hygiene Program on Body Composition, Physical Condition, Eating Habits, and Dental Care for Shelter Home Residents with Intellectual Disabilities

Background: Physical inactivity, poor diet habit, and poor dental hygiene are big concerns among people with intellectual disabilities that cause a rise in obesity rates with increases in the risk of chronic diseases as well as emotional problems. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can prevent chronic diseases. Proper oral hygiene may improve a person's health and quality of life. Yet, the effects of physical activity, healthy diet and oral care programs on people with intellectual disabilities who live in shelter home sare lack. The present study investigated the influence of a program integrating physical activity, a healthy diet, and dental hygiene on the physical functions, body composition, exercise and dietary habits, and oral care of a group of adults with intellectual disabilities living in a shelter home.
Methods: Residents living in a shelter home (27 males and 24 females) participated in a 10-month integrated program consisted of a series of physical activity, healthy diets, and dental hygiene regime delivered by nurse and physiotherapist. Body composition, physical functions, changes in exercise and eating habits and dental hygiene were measured before and after the program.
Results: After the program the participants showed a trend of improvement on physical functions on the Timed Up and Go test, Sit to Stand, single leg standing and Berg Balance Scale. Moreover, they tended to exercise for a longer duration and performed more than one type of exercise. The skills on brushing teeth were significantly improved and more participants acquired correct dental knowledge. However, no significant improvements on the body composition and eating habit.
Conclusion: The present program integrating physical exercise, a healthy diet, and dental hygiene led some clinical improvement in physical function and exercise habit after the program for people with intellectual disabilities living in a shelter home. Moreover, improvements were seen in their skill in brushing their teeth and in their dental knowledge. No significant change was seen in their body composition and eating habits.
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