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A theory-informed qualitative exploration of social and environmental determinants of physical activity and dietary choices in adolescents with intellectual disabilities in their final year of school

Stevens, Gemma and Jahoda, Andrew and Matthews, Lynsay and Hankey, Catherine and Melville, Craig and Murray, Heather and Mitchell, Fiona (2017) A theory-informed qualitative exploration of social and environmental determinants of physical activity and dietary choices in adolescents with intellectual disabilities in their final year of school. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. ISSN 1360-2322

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Stevens_etal_JARID_2017_Social_and_environmental_determinants_of_physical_activity_and_dietary_choices_in_adolescents.pdf
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Abstract

Background The prevalence of obesity is higher in those with intellectual disabilities than the general population. The aim of the study was to understand the determinants of physical activity and dietary patterns in this population during their final year of school. Method Qualitative data were generated from 10 interviews with adolescents with mild–moderate intellectual disabilities. Data were analysed using deductive thematic analysis, employing Self-Determination Theory as a theoretical framework. Results Adolescents’ environment and social interactions play a pivotal role in influencing physical activity and dietary patterns. Three themes emerged from the analysis: situatedness, motivation and wider environmental influences. Conclusions School structure, high self-efficacy and social connectedness facilitate increased physical activity and healthier diet in adolescents with intellectual disabilities. Home life, low self-efficacy and a lack of social connectedness can serve as a barrier to PA and a healthy diet.