Evaluation of a cardiovascular health program for participants with mental retardation and normal learners.

An evaluation was conducted to compare the impact of an 8-week cardiovascular disease risk reduction group teaching program for 92 individuals with mental retardation (MR; IQ less than 70) and 97 normal learners. The curriculum emphasized exercise, nutritional choices, and stress reduction. Body Mass Index (BMI; weight in kilograms, divided by height in meters, squared), knowledge of healthy eating choices, self-report of fruit and vegetable intake, and exercise were measured before and after the intervention. The mean BMI decreased by .89 for normal learners and not at all for the group with MR. However, BMI decreased by at least .75 units (or approximately 5 pounds) for 18.5% of individuals with MR and 44.3% of normal learners.