DESIGNING AN OVERALL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DOWN SYNDROME: A CASE STUDY
Objective: To determine if an individualized, twelve-week exercise plan and meal guide, can initiate positive physiological and psychological changes to increase quality of life for an individual with Down syndrome. Related Literature: Combing aerobic and resistance training together for individuals with Down syndrome can achieve positive results (Mendonca, Pereira, Fernhall, 2011). However, significant changes in body composition were not obtained, while measures of enjoyment and satisfaction were not recorded. Medical History: A physician determined that the subject had no prior history of neck instability, heart conditions, or other exercise precautions common in individuals with Down syndrome (Murray and Ryan-Krause, 2010). Differential Diagnosis: The adapted methods utilized in this program could be adopted for individuals with other developmental disabilities. Treatment: A food guide was created that included portion sizes per food section, healthy substitutions, and visual food guide handouts. The twelve-week exercise program focused on resistance training three times a week, and endurance exercise twice a week. Uniqueness: If healthy nutritional choices were made, in addition to adherence to the prescribed exercise program, a decrease in body weight was expected. Results: Anthropometric measures using the BOD POD revealed the participant’s percent body fat decreased (2.8%), body mass decreased (5.33kg), and BMI decreased from 32.6 to 30.6. The results from both the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) and Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS) suggested an increased enjoyment of physical activity. Conclusions: The overall goals were obtained as the subject reported a greater overall satisfaction with healthy lifestyle choices, and verbally stated the continuation of exercising because of increased knowledge of the healthful effects of being physically active. The results of this case study may help advance the research in this area and offer another resource to individuals with Down syndrome, or clinicians working with patients with special needs.
Key words: Down syndrome, overall health, lifetime fitness, quality of life