Chrisi Mavrovounioti, Eleni Fotiadou, Eirini Koidou, Souzana Papadopoulou, Eirini Argiriadou


The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the adoption of Mediterranean diet in adolescents with intellectual disabilities. The sample of the study consisted of 24 adolescents (8 boys and 16 girls) with intellectual disabilities who were studying at a secondary education school, with an average age of 17.63+2.018 years. For data collection, the Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for Children and Adolescents (KIDMED) by Serra-Majem et al. (2004) was used. KIDMED is supported by specific principles sustaining traditional healthy Mediterranean dietary patterns. KIDMED is based on a 16-item food consumption log questionnaire that can be answered either self-administered or in interview. As for the pupils with intellectual disabilities, the answers were recorded in an individual interview. For the statistical analysis the Statistical Package for Social Sciences ver. 23.0 for windows was used. Data processing showed that over the 1/3 of adolescents with intellectual disabilities (37.5%) has a very low diet quality, while the proportion of adolescents following an optimal Mediterranean diet was zero. In addition, the diet of the adolescents with intellectual disabilities in a very large proportion (62.5%) needs improvement for the adaptation of the consumption / intake to Mediterranean patterns. The results show that adolescents with intellectual disabilities do not follow the Mediterranean diet. Therefore, priority should be given to the application and implementation of health educational programs on diet in general, and more specifically on the benefits of Mediterranean diet to adolescents with intellectual disabilities, in order to adopt the Mediterranean diet patterns aiming on the beneficial effects, both directly and long-term in their adult life.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


youth, mental retardation, food, diet quality index

Full Text:



Adolfsson, P., Sydner, Y. M., Fjellström, C., Lewin, B., Andersson, A. (2008). Observed dietary intake in adults with intellectual disability living in the community. Food Nutr Res, 52: 10. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v52i0.1857

Alberti-Fidanza A., Fidanza F. (2004). Mediterranean adequacy index of Italian diets. Public Health Nutrition, 7: 937-941.

Braunschweig, C. L., Gomez, S., Sheean, P., Tomey, K. M., Rimmer, J., Heller, T. (2004). Nutritional status and risk factors for chronic disease in urban-dwelling adults with Down syndrome. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 109(2): 186-193.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). (2011). School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Recommendations and Reports, 60(5): 1-75. U.S. Government Printing Office: 2011.

Daniels, S., Arnett, D., Eckel, R., Gidding, S. S., Hayman, L. L., Kumanyika, S., Robinson, T. N., Scott, B. J., Jeor, S. St., Williams, C. L. (2005). Overweight in children and adolescents: pathophysiology, consequences, prevention, and treatment. Circulation, 111: 1999-2012.

Donini, L., Serra-Majem, L., Bulló, M., Gil, Á., Salas-Salvadó, J. (2015). The Mediterranean diet: Culture, health and science. The British journal of nutrition, 113: S1-S3. 10.1017/S0007114515001087.

Doody, C., Doody, O. (2013). Health promotion for people with intellectual disability and obesity. British Journal of Nursing, 21(8). DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2012.21.8.460.

Draheim, C. C., Stanish, H. I., Williams, D. P., McCubbin, J. A. (2007). Dietary intake of adults with mental retardation who reside in community settings. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 112(5): 392-400.

Ells, L. J., Lang, R., Shield, J. P., Wilkinson, J. R., Lidstone, J. S., Coulton, S., Summerbell, C. D. (2006). Obesity and disability - a short review. Obes Rev, 7(4): 341‐345. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2006.00233.x.

Eurostat. (2018). Fruit and vegetable consumption statistics. Statistics explained.

Fisher, K., Ketti, P. (2005). Aging with mental retardation: increasing population of older adults with MR require health interventions and prevention strategies. Geriatrics 60(4): 26-29.

Guenther, P. M., Dodd, K. W., Reedy, J., Krebs-Smith, S. M. (2006). Most Americans eat much less than recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106: 1371-1379.

Haveman, M., Heller, T., Lee, L., Maaskant, M., Shooshtari, S., Strydom, A. (2010). Major health risks in aging persons with intellectual disabilities: An overview of recent studies. J Pol Pract Intellect Disabil, 7(1): 59-69.

Janicki, M. P., Davidson, P. W., Henderson, C. M., McCallion, P., Taets, J. D., Force, L. T., Sulkes, S. B., Frangenberg, E., Ladrigan, P. M. (2002). Health characteristics and health services utilization in older adults with intellectual disability living in community residences. J Intellect Disabil Res, 46(Pt 4): 287-298.

Jobling, A. (2001). Beyond sex and cooking: health education for individuals with intellectual disability. Ment Retard, 39(4): 310-321.

Marshall, D., McConkey, R., Moore, G. (2003). Obesity in people with intellectual disabilities: the impact of nurse-led health screenings and health promotion activities. J Adv Nurs, 41: 147-153.

Mokdad, A. H., Marks, J. S., Stroup, D. F., Gerberding, J. L. (2004). Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. JAMA, 291(10): 1238-1245.

National Survey of Children's Health- NSCH. (2011/12). Data query from the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health website. Retrieved September 2016 from

Ptomey, L. (2013). Strategies to promote weight loss in adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Kansas.

Ptomey, L., Goetz, J., Lee, J., Donnelly, J., Sullivan, D. (2013). Diet Quality of Overweight and Obese Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as Measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2005. Journal of Developmental & Physical Disabilities, 25(6): 625-636. Doi: 10.1007/s10882-013-9339-z

Ríos-Hernández, A., Alda, J. A., Farran-Codina, A., Ferreira-García, E., Izquierdo-Pulido, M. (2017). The Mediterranean diet and ADHD in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 139(2). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-2027.

Serra-Majem, L., Ribas, L., Ngo, J., Ortega, R., Garcia, A., Perez-Rodrigo, C., Aranceta, J. (2004). Food, youth and the Mediterranean diet in Spain. Development of KIDMED, Mediterranean Diet Quality Index in children and adolescents. Public Health Nutrition, 7(7): 931-935. Doi: 10.1079/PHN2004556.

Thompson, B., Demark-Wahnefried, W., Taylor, G., McClelland, J. W., Stables, G., Havas, S., Feng, Z., Topor, M., Heimendinger, J., Reynolds, K. D., Cohen, N. (1999). Baseline fruit and vegetable intake among adults in seven 5 a day study centers located in diverse geographic areas. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 99: 1241-1248.

Trichopoulou, A., Kouris-Blazos, A., Wahlqvist, M. L., Gnardellis, C., Lagiou, P., Polychronopoulos, E., Vassilakou, T., Lipworth, L., Trichopoulos, D. (1995). Diet and overall survival in elderly people. British Medical Journal, 311(7018): 1457-1460.


Copyright © 2015. European Journal of Special Education Research (ISSN 2501 - 2428) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).