The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. Through free health screenings, training of healthcare professionals, and evaluation of the health status of people with intellectual disabilities, Healthy Athletes has become a powerful public health organization worldwide.
Health Promotion uses interactive educational tools and displays, motivational literature and demonstrations to raise the awareness of Special Olympics athletes about the need to improve and maintain an enhanced level of wellness and self-care. Additionally, Health Promotion interviews athletes to assess their health habits, and conducts health screenings in three key areas: BMI – body mass index based on height and weight, BP – blood pressure, andBMD – bone mineral density. Health Promotion is by design fun, interactive, positive and engaging. In this environment, we help athletes learn how small changes in their behavior can help them improve and maintain good health and sports performance.
IMPORTANCE AND IMPACTHealth Promotion events have found that a large percentage of Special Olympics athletes have limited knowledge of proper health practices:60% adult athletes are overweight or obese31% children and adolescents are overweight or obese25% have low bone density20% of Special Olympics athletes had a BP reading indicative of hypertension
PURPOSE AND GOALSThe purpose of Special Olympics Health Promotion is to improve the quality of life and long-term health of Special Olympics athletes and people with intellectual disability (ID) through healthy behaviors, screenings and medical referrals when needed.• Encourage and enhance healthy behaviors, such as eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water, handwashing and sun safety.• Reduce risky behaviors, such as smoking and poor nutrition.• Improve self-efficacy and self-advocacy.• Deliver screening services.
HEALTH PROMOTION MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS BACKGROUND AND REQUIREMENTS• Certification and/or current license as a health professional e.g., RD, CHES, RN, MD, DO, PA, NP, PharmD or Dietitian