Nashville, TN - Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
As an increasing number of researchers focus on the growing obesity epidemic, much work remains in understanding the increased prevalence of weight-related health conditions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). For this reason, I devoted my summer towards analyzing the barriers in health education that put individuals with IDD at higher risk for obesity, hypertension and diabetes with the goal of developing a targeted nutrition education curriculum. This curriculum was then implemented in two summer camps, in conjunction with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC). I used pre- and post-camp nutrition surveys and food diaries to formally analyze the success of the curriculum, in addition to informal interviews with campers, parents and camp staff. In addition, I volunteered at Friends Life, a local non-profit dedicated to helping adults with IDD and as a full-time counselor at the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee’s Creative Arts Camp. Throughout this rewarding summer, I was able to gather data that supports the need for this targeted nutrition education curriculum and develop partnerships with the VKC and Metro Nashville Public Schools, through which this curriculum will be used in their Community Based Transition Program for adults with IDD, beginning this Fall.