Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Nick Gelbar, Melissa Root

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Open Access


Currently, more than one-third of adults (more than 72 million people) in the United States are obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014), and therefore obesity is a major public health concern. The prevalence of obesity in the population of individuals with disabilities has been shown to be 2.1 times higher than compared to the general population, and the prevalence is higher in less restrictive settings such as group homes (Saunders et al., 2011). Therefore, interventions aimed to decrease obesity should be created for this population. The purpose of this study is to investigate the need for a nutrition and food safety training intervention for the direct care support staff of group homes. The investigators worked together with a group home agency, and performed a needs assessment at three of their group homes (N=3). The study used direct observation at the group homes to assess the food/nutrition environment in the homes. A score on a scale from one-to-ten was given to each home based on the availability of nutritious food, the food safety methods used, and the cooking equipment available in each home. The average of each home’s three scores was 6.3/10, 3.7/10, and 6.7/10. The results show that there is a need for training and improvements in the group home/assisted community living environment for individuals with disabilities. The researchers suggest an intervention related to nutrition to increase the information, motivation, and behavioral skills of the staff of these homes.

Major Advisor

Mary Beth Bruder