Health and Recreation Perceptions of Adults With Developmental Disabilities


  • Brooke N. Burk Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Iryna Sharaievska Appalachian State University



Developmental disabilities, health, leisure education, theory or planned behavior, social cognitive theory, therapeutic recreation


Because of the high rates of obesity among people with developmental disabilities (DD) and our limited knowledge about their perceptions of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, it is imperative that we conduct research to expand our understanding of their attitudes towards and engagement in active recreation and healthy eating practices. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to explore (a) adults’ with DD attitudes toward healthy eating and active recreation; (b) adults’ with DD intentions and interests for active recreation; and (c) barriers to active recreation and healthy eating. Eighteen adults with DD (16 of whom were overweight) completed an interview. The analysis of the results was guided by Social Cognitive Theory and revealed that the participants with disabilities require additional education about what foods and activities are healthy. The participants also named several major barriers to participating in active recreation. The findings suggested a need for leisure education to focus on healthy lifestyle choices among people with DD and their social circle, including caretakers and family.

Subscribe to TRJ

Author Biographies

Brooke N. Burk, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Assistant Professor

Department of Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services

Iryna Sharaievska, Appalachian State University

Department of Recreation Management and Physical Education

Assistant Professor






Research Papers