A comparison of the prevalence of chronic disease among people with and without intellectual disability

Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2012 Nov;117(6):455-63. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-117.6.455.


Some studies have reported the presence of health disparities in people with intellectual disability. This study compared the prevalence of chronic health conditions between people with and without intellectual disability (ID). Health-related data for 791 people with ID were collected through a province-wide mail survey in Quebec, Canada. The distribution of chronic health conditions reported was compared to the data on the health status of the general population. People with ID had higher reported rates of heart disease and thyroid disorder than the general population. We also found that people with ID were less likely to report suffering from arthritis, migraines, back or spinal pain, and food allergies. Significant health differences were found when the ID sample was stratified by etiology (i.e., Down syndrome) and severity of intellectual deficits. We discuss these results and the need for future research to understand the differences found in the health status of people with ID.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases, Factual
  • Down Syndrome / complications
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Young Adult