Variation in nutrition knowledge of adults with mild or moderate mental retardation (30 obese, 27 nonobese) from four community agencies was examined as a function of their body mass and level of mental retardation. They completed a nutrition knowledge test adapted for individuals with mental retardation. Multiple regression analyses revealed significant effects of level of mental retardation and body mass on nutrition knowledge. Adults with mild mental retardation possessed greater nutrition knowledge than did those with moderate mental retardation, and obese individuals possessed more knowledge than did nonobese individuals. The unexpected relation between nutrition knowledge and degree of obesity implies an influential role for environmental factors in the development of obesity.
This study is based on the first author's thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology, Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master's degree, under the supervision of the second author. Portions of this paper were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association on Mental Retardation, San Francisco, June 1, 1995. The authors thank the staff and participants from The Lambs Inc., Glenkirk Foundation, Ray Graham Association, and the Shore Training Center for their gracious support and cooperation.