Obesity in Children with Down Syndrome: Background and Recommendations for Management

Julie Murray, MSN, BA, RN, CPNP; Patricia Ryan-Krause, MS, MSN, RN, CPNP


Pediatr Nurs. 2010;36(6):314-319. 

In This Article

Provider Roles


Very little research has been conducted on obesity in children with Down syndrome, the role physical anomalies play in the development of obesity, behavioral and psychosocial aspects that place children at risk for excessive weight gain, or the efficacy of interventions to prevent obesity. Additional research examining successful weight-loss interventions used in the general pediatric population and their application to children with Down syndrome and their families should be conducted. Interventions, such as dancing, intensive dietary education, and specially designed camps, have been employed to manage obesity in children without Down syndrome, but no such interventions have been used for children with Down syndrome.

Community Involvement

In addition to research, providers may also become active in the community by volunteering and raising awareness of issues surrounding obesity in children with Down syndrome. One potential avenue for this work may be collaborating with existing local or national organizations, such as the Special Olympics or the National Down Syndrome Society. Providers may also serve as political advocates, addressing obesity issues pertaining to the Down syndrome community and the general population. These issues range from mandating physical education and nutrition courses, applying certain food taxes, or requesting healthier food options in schools.


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