Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rimmer, James H.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Obesity in children--Illinois--Chicago; Children with mental disabilities--Illinois--Chicago--Health and hygiene; Mental retardation--Illinois--Chicago--Physiological aspects


Obesity is considered a major health problem among children in the United States. Due to its increasing prevalence, serious efforts must be aimed at preventing this disorder early in life. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a significant difference in BMI between children with and without mental retardation(MR). One hundred and three nonretarded children (51 males and 52 females, 7 to 9 years) and 71 children with mild or moderate mental retardation (36 males and 35 females, 7 to 9 years) were measured on height and weight in order to compute body mass index (BMI). Children with Down Syndrome (DS) (n= 27) were evaluated as a separate group. Results indicated that there was no significant difference in BMI between children with and without mental retardation (p>.05). There was, however, a significant difference between males and females (p < .05 ), with nonretarded males having a larger BMI than nonretarded females, and males with MR having a larger BMI than females with MR. Children with DS had significantly higher BMI's (p < .05) than children with MR who did not have DS. These findings indicate a need for more investigation into the caloric intake, energy expenditure, and lifestyle characteristics of children with DS.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [17]-18).


36 pages




Northern Illinois University

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