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Importance of Nutrition For Those With Special Health Needs
Everyone needs good health and good nutrition to live an optimal life. For some people, good nutrition is even more important, especially those with developmental disabilities and special health care needs. Nutrition is often an overlooked aspect of life for these people, but it can help them stay healthy and allow medications to work better.
Shawn is 28 years old and has Down syndrome. He works at a local pizzeria and enjoys hanging out with his friends. Although his mother was against the idea at first, Shawn recently moved into an apartment with three other young men who also have developmental disabilities. Like other peers their age, they don’t always eat the healthiest diet and sometimes they don’t eat at all.
Shawn and his housemates have an agency that sends staff to help plan and cook meals, however, the four men are rarely home at the same time and each has different nutritional needs and desires. Shawn loves his job, including one of the perks, which is a free pizza he can eat with the others who work at the store. He put on thirty pounds in the first three months of working there, which worries his mother for a number of reasons.
Research from the American Dietetic Association points to the need for improved programs not only for people with developmental disabilities, but also for those who have other special health needs and considerations, not just for their weight, but also for the physical, behavioral and psychological problems that excessive weight gain can have for them (Source: Science News)
Down syndrome occurs in 1 in 700 births, with the highest risk being for children born to older women. This syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality and causes nearly 40% of all cases of moderate to severe mental retardation. Babies with Down syndrome have brains that appear normal at birth but tend to shrink during infancy, most often in the hippocampal region of the brain, leading to cognitive difficulties and dysfunction.
In the past, babies with Down’s Syndrome were institutionalized and left alone, however, they are now given much better prognoses, with many of them like Shawn moving out to live much more independent lives. Life expectancy has also increased, with many people with Down syndrome living into their 60s. They have an increased risk of certain conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, leukemia and cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to die from these conditions sooner (Source: Papalia, Olds and Feldman).
When Shawn was a child, he had a heart problem which was treated with surgery and medication. During his youth and rebellious teenage years, his mother tried to help him stay on track with his health and weight, but he always had a taste for sweets and heavier foods, so his weight always went down. been a problem. Now that he is working and on his own, he has less direction for him and he is gaining weight because of it. The ADA would like to see more emphasis on training and educating Shawn and others like him on the importance of making healthier food choices. In addition, it is important to educate the establishments and organizations responsible for helping these people so that they can help them make the right food choices. It’s not about taking away rights or making choices for anyone, it’s about helping people make better choices for themselves.
Shawn and his housemates have different needs, including David, who has food allergies. Because he is continually losing weight due to his own condition, a third housemate considers having a feeding tube to supplement his oral feeding, which he strives to avoid. The fourth roommate, like David and Shawn, is overweight and would like to lose some of his weight.
One of the benefits of the neighborhood they live in is a sheltered workshop, which has not only helped these four young men find jobs and find staff to help them live in their own homes, but also offers training courses. enrichment so that they can continually learn new information at their own level. They agree to enroll in nutrition classes, where they learn the importance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well as the different vitamins and minerals they need in their daily diet. Shawn, his staff and his mother are also seeing a nutritionist to get a personalized eating plan that he can try to follow. He will learn which foods he should eat more and which he should eat less, including how to make his daily pizza a little healthier, for example, by limiting cheese, increasing the sauce and using vegetables instead of meat toppings on the slices. that he eats.
Part of the reason he eats so much when he commutes to work is that he doesn’t eat a very big breakfast and is starving by the time his break comes around. One of the things he will change is to eat a bigger and healthier breakfast before he leaves the house. By eating a morning meal that contains protein and carbohydrates, he has the energy he needs to start the day and doesn’t starve at lunchtime. He will also prepare a small snack to eat during his first short break before lunchtime. He also packs fruit to eat with his pizza so he doesn’t have to eat as much.
Shawn and his housemates all use Profect, a protein supplement from Protica, which will also keep him from feeling hungry during the day when used as a snack between meals. Each serving contains 25 grams of protein and only 100 calories. Even Shawn’s roommate David, who has food allergies, has found a Protica supplement he can use. Proasis, the first all-natural liquid protein supplement, is free of lactose, aspartame, GMOs, egg, yeast, wheat and gluten. In addition, Proasis is stimulating, conservative and cholesterol-free. Both Proasis and Profect are available in a number of sizes and flavors so that each of the men can find their favorite flavor.
Due to his heart condition, Shawn must make sure he sticks to his new, healthier diet and try to lose the weight he has gained. Along with the new food, he should also start a new exercise program. He has always been happy to go swimming, so he will go twice a week and try to go for walks several times a week. He might even ask one of the girls who works at the pizza place to walk with him during lunchtime instead of eating a second helping of pizza.
– Diane E. Papalia, Sally Wendkos Olds and Ruth Duskin Feldman A Child’s World: From Infancy to Adolescence Eleventh Edition McGraw Hill Publishing Company. Boston MA 2008
– Science News / Nutrition Services, Important Prevention in Nutritional Care for Special Health Needs. Science Daily February 1, 2010
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