A number of studies have looked at difficulties with overweight and underweight in people with learning disabilities. An added challenge is the issue of dietary assessment, where getting accurate information about the diet of people with learning disabilities can be difficult.
The researchers in this study wanted to look at whether the use of personal digital photography as a method of assessing different aspects of dietary quality was an appropriate and potentially effective method for this group. The researchers in this Swedish study worked with 18 adults with moderate learning disabilities who were living in community residential services or using day activity centres in Stockholm. The adults were asked to photograph all foods and beverages they consumed during a 1 day period while being observed by the researchers. The photographs taken were also coded by two raters.
They found that with staff reminders, 85% of all observed eating or drinking occasions were photographed.. From this small introductory study, the authors conclude that the use of personal digital photography may well be a feasible, reliable and valid method for assessing dietary quality where people are in receipt of daily staff support.
Validation of personal digital photography to assess dietary quality among people with intellectual disabilities, Elinder, L. Et al., in Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56: 221–226.