The Kansas University (KS UCEDD) Diet Project for People with Physical Disabilities

May 9, 2012

More than 120 people with physical disabilities in Wichita, Kansas, are receiving personalized weight loss support through a NIDRR FIR project conducted by Muriel Saunders, PhD, and Amanda Reichard, PhD, at the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living. This video about the project is close-captioned in English and Spanish.

Individuals with physical disabilities (PD) have obesity rates that far exceed those in the general population. Overweight and obesity are independent risk factors for chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease in both the general population and those with PD.

Participants in this randomized trial to evaluate weight loss and weight maintenance follow one of two diets and meet monthly with a dietician or certified health fitness specialist to monitor their progress. They are encouraged to participate in a physical activity program appropriate for their physical abilities throughout their 18-month involvement.

"Many of the participants also have diabetes," said Reichard. "An important outcome of the study is that in addition to losing weight, some of them have been able to get their blood sugar under control and manage their diabetes through exercise and diet."

Reichard is also analyzing
the health care utilization patterns and secondary health outcomes of participants using Kansas Medicaid claims data. This information could encourage Medicaid and other health insurance companies to offer diet support as a preventive service.