U.S. study compares health demographics of people with learning disabilities with and without Down syndrome


The researchers in this US study were looking to compare a range of indicators of health status and service use between adults with learning disabilities, with and without Down syndrome.

They compared 1,199 people using services who had Down syndrome (DS) with a comparative sample of 11,182 people with learning disabilities who did not have Down syndrome. They got their sample from National Core Indicator surveys of adult service users in 25 U.S. states.

What they found was

  • People with DS were younger those without the syndrome
  • Men with DS were older than women with Down syndrome, (the reverse was true of the individuals without DS).
  • Most (68%) people with DS had mild or moderate learning disability.
  • Prevalence of vision impairment, hearing impairment, and physical disability increased with age.
  • Adults with DS were more likely to have Alzheimer’s dementia, have a hearing impairment, or be overweight,
  • Adults with DS were less likely to have a physical disability
  • Adults with DS were less likely to live in institutions or their own home, but more likely to live in a family member’s home.
  • Participants were more likely to be reported as overweight if they had DS, were female, and were physically inactive,
  • Participants were less likely to be reported as overweight if they were older, had more severe learning disability, had cerebral palsy, or were not independently mobile.

Demographic Characteristics, Health Conditions, and Residential Service Use in Adults with Down Syndrome in 25 U.S. States, Stancliffe R et al., in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50, 2, 92-108.

Share on Facebook Tweet this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+
Mark as read
Create a personal elf note about this blog
Profile photo of John Northfield

John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

More posts

Follow me here –