Online Program

Accuracy of the estimated obesity rate from informant-reported weight and height in adults with intellectual disabilities

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kelly Hsieh, PhD, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Henan Li, MS, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
James Rimmer, PhD, School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Background: Informant reports are often used in health related studies involving people with intellectual disabilities (ID); therefore, it is important to validate informant-reported data. This study examines the accuracy of the estimated obesity rate based on informant-reported height and weight.

Methods: We analyzed baseline informant-reported height and weight data from50 adults (aged 18 years and older) with ID in the Longitudinal Health and Intellectual Disability Study (LHIDS) and measured height and weight data, collected from Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program events. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated.

Results: The majority of informants (96%) were parents or relatives, and the remainder (4%) was agency or volunteer staff. Though no significant differences between informant-reported and measured height and weight were found, informants tended to overestimate height (169.7 cm, vs. 166.6 cm) and underestimate weight (83.9 kg vs. 86.5 kg) for men, and to under report women's height (157.8 cm vs. 161.5 cm) and weight (69.1 kg vs. 76.5 kg). As a result, informant reports yielded a lower BMI than measured BMI (mean difference -1.5 for men and -1.6 for women). An overall obesity (BMI ≥30) rate was 31% based on informant reports and 38% based on measured data. Sensitivity for determining clinical obesity status was 82.4% and 78.6% for men and women respectively, but specificity was low for both men (54.5%) and women (42.5%).

Conclusions: The estimated obesity rate of adults with ID might be underestimated when based on informant-reported height and weight.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the difference between informant-reported and measured weight, height, and the estimated obesity rate. Discuss the significance and implications of findings.

Keyword(s): Disability, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development, and Associate Director of Evaluation and Statistics for the RRTC on Lifespan Health and Function at UIC. I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the relationship between health risk behaviors and health outcomes including obesity, falls, cardiovascular disease, and dementia across lifespan among individuals with intellectual/ developmental disabilities using epidemiological approach.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.