for Community-dwelling Adults with Intellectual
or Developmental Disabilities
Nutrition plays an important role in supporting health and contributes to a higher quality of life for community-dwelling adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Nutrition-related health and wellness, such as maintaining a healthy weight or keeping blood sugar within normal range, can either maximize an individual’s independence and participation in community life, or restrict them.
Nutrition is a leading health indicator for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Research on secondary health conditions shows that many of the most limiting conditions are related to nutrition and may be prevented or improved through better nutrition. Overweight and obesity, in particular, are critical problems in this population and must be addressed, in part through nutrition intervention.
Recent research indicates that the food systems in many group homes for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities produce nutritionally inadequate diets. The staff needs support and assistance from reputable nutrition sources to be able to plan and make healthy meals and snacks while keeping costs low. Opportunities for consumer education and support to make healthy food choices in group homes are important, but too often lacking.
MENU-AIDDs does not require special doctors’ orders because it is not a therapeutic diet. It packages standard nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, to work for people with intellectual disabilities and their supporters.
The MENU-AIDDs health promotion program consists of two parts – materials and
training — with optional evaluation consultation available.
- The MENU-AIDDs program written materials includes a 180-page coordinated resource on nutrition education and staff skill building. View the Table of Contents here.
- The second, integral part of MENU-AIDDs is the in-person training. The content
of the program is taught and practiced at the training by the group home managers, where addressing real world issues is key to the success and implementation of the program. Training the managers impacts all the residents by improving the menus and foods available, made, served, and consumed. The training is a full-day, workshop format. We travel to you.
Participants’ evaluations on knowledge, empowerment, intent to implement healthy changes, and skills to make the improvements rated the training as “excellent.” The attendees saw the training event as very beneficial and a lot of fun!
- “I loved the menu planning activities.”
- “Great hands-on work in menu planning and brainstorming ways to make our food at home work better”
- “The best part of the day was all the give-and-take between the managers and staff who attended”
- “…Nice to attend an event where the trainer knows ‘adult education’ and learning styles. I felt like I could learn how to do this!”
- “I will use this binder so much. I was just dying for nutrition materials for our group homes! Nutrition is such a problem these days.”
- “We’ve been using the MENU-AIDDs for a year now. It is going great and I (group home manager) have lost 35 pounds myself!”
- “Fantastic presenter! Very warm sense of humor.”
MENU-AIDDs was scientifically evaluated in community group homes after 8 weeks and 6 months of use. Results:
- Overweight and underweight residents improved their weight significantly;
- Gastrointestinal health showed significant improvements for bowel obstruction, constipation, diarrhea and loose bowels;
- Menus and foods served in the homes improved, including significant gains in: whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and non-meat proteins, and reduced intake of high-fat and processed meats and junk food;
- Adequate and appropriate portion sizes served;
- Residents were satisfied with their meals;
- High adoption of program and ratings of acceptability from managers, staff, and
- Acceptable cost both in staff time and in dollars spent on food.
Good Nutrition Ideas’ doctoral-levelscientists are available to conduct program evaluation for participating organizations. We can work together with you to get the information important to you; such as:
- Nutrition knowledge and awareness of staff;
- Food frequency and dietary intake of key nutrients in diet;
- Weight problems and other secondary conditions experienced by consumers; and
- The reach of MENU-AIDDs to residents and direct care staff.
The standard fee for delivering the MENU-AIDDs program and in-person training is $3,500 for up to 15 group homes in the same training session (approximately $233.00 per home), plus materials and actual travel. Additional days of training, in the same trip, are $2,500 per day. Contact us for more details on services, prices, and availability.
Nutrition for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities: Nutrition Standards of Care for Use by Personal Assistants, Service Providers, Healthcare Providers, Nutrition Professionals, and Family Members 2005
Using Commodities and Canned Foods in Group Homes for Adults with Disabilities, Practice Guideline, 2004
Food On Film©: An Innovative Method for Recording Food Intake of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Communication Difficulties
Research Progress Report #22, 2004
Nutrition and Disability: Report #14, 2002