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Food choice by people with intellectual disabilities at day centres: A qualitative study

Cartwright, Luke; Reid, Marie; Hammersley, Richard; Blackburn, Chrissie; Glover, Lesley


Luke Cartwright

Marie Reid

Richard Hammersley

Chrissie Blackburn

Lesley Glover


People with intellectual disabilities experience a range of health inequalities. It is important to investigate possible contributory factors that may lead to these inequalities. This qualitative study identified some difficulties for healthy eating in day centres. (1) Service users and their family carers were aware of healthy food choices but framed these as diets for weight loss rather than as everyday eating. (2) Paid carers and managers regarded the principle of service user autonomy and choice as paramount, which meant that they felt limited in their capacity to influence food choices, which they attributed to the home environment. (3) Carers used food as a treat, a reward and for social bonding with service users. (4) Service users’ food choices modelled other service users’ and carers’ choices at the time. It is suggested that healthy eating should be made more of a priority in day care, with a view to promoting exemplarily behaviour that might influence food choice at home.


Cartwright, L., Reid, M., Hammersley, R., Blackburn, C., & Glover, L. (2015). Food choice by people with intellectual disabilities at day centres: A qualitative study. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 19(2), 103-115.

Acceptance Date Nov 14, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2014
Publication Date Jun 1, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 16, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 16, 2016
Journal Journal of intellectual disabilities
Print ISSN 1744-6295
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 103-115
Keywords Autonomy; Diet; Food choice; Intellectual disability; Obesity
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Journal of intellectual disabilities, 2015, v.19, issue 2.
Contract Date Mar 16, 2016


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