Health Promotion events are focused on improving the quality and length of life for Special Olympics athletes by providing them with knowledge and tools to make better decisions about their health and well-being. To encourage healthy behaviors, reduce risky behaviors and improve self-efficacy and self-advocacy, health care professionals provide athletes health screenings (BMI, blood pressure and bone mineral density (BDM) measurements), interactive educational tools and motivational health information.
The objectives of Health Promotion include:
- Encourage and enhance healthy behaviors, such as eating fruits and vegetables, handwashing and sun safety
- Reduce risky behaviors, such as smoking and poor nutrition
- Increase the investment of health promotion leaders for people with intellectual disabilities
Research conducted with athletes at Special Olympics events has revealed:
- 59% of Special Olympics adult athletes are overweight or obese
- 31% of Special Olympics youth (less than 20 years of age) athletes are overweight or obese
- 25% of Special Olympics adult athletes have low bone density and increased risk for bone fracture
- 20% of Special Olympics athletes had blood pressure scores indicative of hypertension
Health Promotion events are held at State Summer and Winter Games. Health professionals interview athletes to assess their health habits, and conduct health screenings in three key areas: BMI – body mass index based on height and weight, BP – blood pressure, and BMD – bone mineral density. Educational tools and displays provide increased awareness of chronic or infectious disease and ways to prevent them. Athletes are provided with tools to improve their health and sports performance by making small changes in their daily lives.
Information for Healthcare Professionals
Interested in becoming a clinical director?
Clinical Directors are an important part of the Healthy Athletes Health Promotions team. Clinical Directors are responsible for working with their local Special Olympics Program and other volunteer health professionals in coordinating a Health Promotions event in their region.
Interested in volunteering at a Health Promotion event?
Volunteer roles are available for individuals of all backgrounds including dietitians, nutritionists, health education specialists, students, and more. Examples of volunteer roles available at Health Promotion screenings include:
- Patient education
- Athlete registration
- Athlete guides
To register to volunteer at a Health Promotion event, contact Kellie Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org