Allyson Davis


Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic and results in negative health and psychosocial outcomes. Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience increased rates of obesity compared to typically developing children, but interventions targeting health behaviors in this population have been limited. We examined the feasibility and efficacy of a health behaviors camp for children and adolescents with IDD. We also tested the correlation of child behavior problems and social skills with baseline weight status and health behaviors. Furthermore, we examined these psychosocial risk factors as moderators of camp outcomes. The camp included participants aged 9 – 15 years who were diagnosed with mild to moderate IDD and were overweight. Based on demand, practicality, implementation, and acceptability, camp-based intervention appeared to be feasible for this population. There were no significant changes in child BMI, hours of physical activity, or parental feeding practices. We observed a significant increase in health and fitness related knowledge during the intervention, but this was not maintained at a four-month follow-up assessment. At baseline, there were no significant correlations between behavior problems or social skills and BMI, physical activity, or parental feeding practices. Social skills also did not predict intervention outcomes. However, higher levels of externalizing behavior problems predicted larger changes in hours of physical activity and parental restriction in feeding and reduced changes in child BMI. Increased internalizing and total behavior problems also predicted lesser changes in BMI. Total behavior problems had a trending relationship with changes in physical activity. Given the elevated obesity rates in children with IDD and associated negative outcomes, it will be crucial to continue examining risk factors and interventions for this population.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology


Clinical Psychology


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Neece, Cameron L.

Second Advisor

Herbozo, Sylvia

Third Advisor

Krishnamurthy, Vidhya

Fourth Advisor

Vermeersch, David A.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Obesity in children; Obesity - child; Health behavior; Child Development

Subject - Local

Health Behaviors Camp; Intellectual and Development Disabilities (IDD); Parental feeding practices; Intervention



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives