HealthMatters for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Building Communities of Practice for Health

A Research to Policy Brief from AUCD and UIC's RRTCDD

November 14, 2016

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The emergence of accessible health promotion initiatives for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) over the past 20 years demonstrates great promise for improving their health status. However, people with IDD continue to experience numerous age-related health issues and often lack control over environments and practices that impact their health. Just as in the general U.S. population, a great challenge remains to lower obesity levels, increase physical activity, and improve diets among people with IDD.

While research evidence for successful population specific health promotion programs and training, such as the 12-Week HealthMatters Program has been documented, an urgent need exists for widespread translation of evidence-based programs into practice and policy implementation. The next step is to develop and test models to support changes in state and community based organizations' (CBOs) policies and fiscal budgets that embed and sustain evidence-based health promotion programs in the communities where people with IDD live, work, and play. Determining successful scale-up processes of "what works" is critical in being able to achieve the goal of improved lives for the greatest number of people.