Nutritional intervention improves menu adequacy in group homes for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities

Kathleen Humphries, Ph.D., Alison Pepper, M.A., Meg Ann Traci, Ph.D., Julianna Olson, Tom Seekins

 Disability and Health Journal, July 2009 Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 136–144



Research documents that adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) living in the community experience nutritional deficits, inadequate diets, and poor nutritional status.


We developed a nutrition intervention that was targeted at improving the food systems in group homes for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, called MENU-AIDDs (Materials Supporting Education and Nutrition for Adults with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities).


MENU-AIDDs was implemented for 8 and 16weeks in four community-based group homes for adults with IDD. Improved nutritional adequacy of planned menus was tested as a marker of improved dietary intake in the residents of the homes.


Results showed significant statistical and clinical improvements in the planned menus whereby there were significant increases in the appearance on menus of whole grains, vegetables overall and green/yellow/orange vegetables in particular, and low-fat proteins, and significant decreases in the higher-fat proteins, potatoes, and “junk foods.” The positive practice of specifying portion sizes on the menus increased significantly.


MENU-AIDDs is a community-based health promotion intervention that can improve menu planning and dietary adequacy while being responsive to the needs of group home residents, direct care staff, and administrators.