Research Regarding Healthy Weight of People with Limb Differences

Obesity and unhealthy weight are a national health prevention priority and the focus of national health initiatives. Unhealthy weight in people with a variety of disabilities is commonly reported; yet many are unable to use typical scales or measurement devices and strategies due to contractures and motor impairments. Loss of limbs and loss of muscle mass cannot be well calibrated to assure accurate height or weight measurements.  Body Mass Index (BMI) may not be the best measurement for people with disabilities, and the use of other instruments and strategies for evaluation of weight or BMI have not been standardized for them.

Members of the Division of Human Development and Disability, NCBDDD have been reviewing the issues of weight management and obesity for people with disability, individually and with national partners.  The DRDC has been tasked with completing a comprehensive and systematic review of the literature starting in Fall 2013, and to report their findings on the quality of evidence and scientific rigor used in order to evaluate options for gauging the healthy weight of people with disability.

Following completion of the evidence-based literature review, the DRDC will coordinate an expert panel meeting with Division members, to be convened in Atlanta in the first half of 2014.  The goal of this national working group will be to identify key areas of research and promote best practices in determining healthy and unhealthy weight in people with disability.