Special Olympics Health Promotion
Health Promotion, part of the broader Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative, seeks to improve the quality and length of life for Special Olympics athletes by encouraging and enhancing positive health behaviors, reducing risky ones, and improving self-efficacy and self-advocacy. Health Promotion provides free screenings to Athletes for body mass index, bone density and blood pressure, as well as education in a range of topics, including both nutrition and physical activity. In addition to screening events, Health Promotion messaging is also integrated into the broader year-round programming of Special Olympics, including coaches training, sports resources and materials, and family education. Through Health Promotion, healthy lifestyle messaging is seamlessly interwoven with sports programming so that health is an equal, necessary component to helping athletes achieve their fullest potential both on and off the field.
Dr. Richard Fleming and an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School/Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center have developed an educational program called Health U. The Health U. curriculum consists of 16 sessions that focus on nutrition and physical activity, with materials and activities modified to meet the cognitive needs of the participants. Health U. is currently being conducted as a randomized controlled trial to determine the best approach for promoting weight loss in adolescents and young adults (ages 13-26) with Down syndrome: Down syndrome.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences operates 11 KIDS FIRST sites in centers strategically located around Arkansas, serving 750 children with special healthcare needs ranging in age from six weeks to five years. In their pediatric day healthcare clinics, children diagnosed as having a medical condition known to place them at risk for developmental delays and disabilities receive intensive intervention from an interdisciplinary team that includes nutritional counseling, occupational, speech and behavioral therapy, parent meetings and support groups, and family consultation