Nutrition

The foods we eat affect our health. Through a programmatic line of research, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of methods for organizing the home environment for eating to maintain health. The research describes methods for assessing the dietary environment and strategies for arranging the environment to promote healthy eating.

  • Project dates: 2002-Present
  • Funded by: The University of Montana; Montana Developmental Disabilities Planning and Advisory Council; U.S. Centers for disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement No. U59/CCU821224, R04/CCR818162
  • Principal staff: Kathleen Humphries, Ph.D., Meg Traci, Ph.D., Tom Seekins, Ph.D., Bethany Rigles, M.A., Joyce Brusin

Links to Project Publications Available on UMScholarWorks:

Nutrition and Disability

Links to Scholarly Articles and Abstracts:

A Preliminary Assessment of the Nutrition and Food-System Environment of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Living in Supported Arrangements in the Community

Nutrition and Disability in Montana: The State of Food and Nutrition in Montana

Nutrition Education and Support Program for Community-Dwelling Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Quick Links: Health & Wellness

Current Projects

  • Ecological Decision Support for Health Promotion
    Many communities across rural America are far away from healthcare services. Rural residents with disabilities may not be able to get to those services to address their healthcare needs. This project will provide a consumer directed health program to people with disabilities in rural communities that allows them to follow their own needs and interests for health improvement. Participants will use tablet computers and work with local Centers for Independent Living in order to participate in the program.
  • Motivation for Self Management
    This developmental project will develop two multi-media products that community-based agencies can use to deliver state-of-the-art health promotion services to people with disabilities living in the community. The first product, Multi-Media Living Well with a Disability (MMLWD) will be based on the 4th edition of our Living Well with a Disability curriculum that we have developed and implemented over the past 25 years. The second product, Motivation for Self-Management will be a new multi-media health promotion module based on Self-Determination Theory that increases consumer motivation and confidence for engaging in self-management.
  • Resilience in Community Participation
    Employment, social support, health status and the environment influence a person’s ability to deal with difficult experiences. These factors also have an effect on whether or not someone participates in their community. This study will focus on rural resilience to learn more about how people deal with difficulties associated with having a disability even as they participate in the rural community.

Completed Projects

COMPLETED PROJECTS | 2014 - present

 
  • Pain Interference Patterns
    Because many people with disabilities experience significant limitations in their ability to engage in community activities (e.g., shopping, entertainment, etc.), we wanted to know how pain and environmental conditions affected participation in community activities. To help answer this question, we asked people with disabilities to complete 4 surveys over 18 months about their pain levels, environmental barriers, and participation in daily activities. About one-third of these people also completed six surveys for day for 14 days using an electronic diary that asked similar questions. We found that as people experience more fatigue and pain, their community participation decreased.

COMPLETED PROJECTS | 2008 - 2013

 
  • Consumer Self-Managed Use of Rural Healthcare Services
    In rural America, health management resources are not as available as they are in urban areas which makes managing complex health needs more difficult. One way of improving health status for rural Americans with disabilities is to use existing healthcare services that serve rural communities to promote effective health-related self-management.
  • Nursing Home Emancipation
    Many people with disabilities are institutionalized in nursing homes when they could live independently. Nearly forty percent of nursing homes are located in rural communities with limited access to services, family and oversight. Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have worked to move people from nursing home facilities into independent living situations with great success. Few people, once they leave a nursing home, ever return.
  • Peer Support for Rural Mental Health
    People with disabilities have poor access to mental health services in rural areas, a gap that may be decreased through peer specialist services. Peer specialist providers offer a variety of services to people with disabilities and share similar experiences to those they are serving. They provide peer counseling, advocacy and can help in accessing resources. This project developed and offered a peer support training program to Centers for Independent Living staff and peers to help identify and provide support for mental health needs among CIL consumers. Results showed that people sought peer services when they experienced an increase in mental health symptoms which subsequently were reduced back to normal.
  • Peer Support for Secondary Mental Health Conditions
    When people with disabilities experience mental health symptoms, participation in community life can be reduced. This study surveyed people with disabilities in rural communities to see what kinds of mental health conditions they experience. Implementation of a peer specialist training curriculum for CIL staff and peers indicated that people experiencing elevated mental health symptoms presented for peer support. Subsequently, their symptom levels returned to normal.

COMPLETED PROJECTS | prior to 2008

 
  • Living Well with a Disability
    The Living Well with a Disability workshop is a ten-week evidence-based program designed to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities. People who have taken the workshop report better health, lower medical costs and improved quality of life.
  • Nutrition
    Good nutrition can be facilitated and supported by organizing the home environment. This line of research describes methods for assessing the environment and the ways in which it promotes healthy eating.
  • Secondary Conditions
    Health problems that come as a result of having a disability, such as high blood pressure and weight gain, can limit people from participating in life activities. This project focused on these secondary health conditions and led to the development of the Living Well with a Disability program.

Products & Training

  • Living Well with a Disability Living Well with a Disability is a peer-led health promotion workshop that focuses on improved quality of life through the development of a healthy lifestyle. Training is available.

External Resources