Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN) offers Health Promotion, events that are focused on improving long-term health outcomes for Special Olympic Minnesota athletes by giving them the information, encouragement and the facilities they need to sustain physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. Through Health Promotion events, SOMN aims to improve the quality of life and self-image of athletes by providing them with knowledge and tools to make better decisions about their health and well-being.
Health Promotion venues empower and motivate athletes to make healthy lifestyle choices that will improve their long-term health by using interactive educational games and literature. Athletes are offered guides for healthy eating, lifestyle choices, fun ways to increase physical fitness as well as information (content varies with the health needs of the population) on topics such as tobacco avoidance, sun safety and skin care. Health screenings at Games include BMI and bone mineral density (BMD) measurements. (Note that osteopenia and osteoporosis appear to be more frequent among people with disabilities, especially Down syndrome.)
Health Promotion objectives
- Improve long-term health outcomes for Special Olympics athletes by giving them the information, encouragement, and facilities they need to sustain physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices
- Improve the quality of life and self-image of athletes
- Provide the athletes the means by which they can work to better their own health and well-being
- Allow more people with intellectual disabilities to participate in Special Olympics and to retain those athletes who are currently active
Health Promotion brochures
A series of pamphlets have been produced by Healthy Athletes, written with Special Olympics athletes in mind.
H2O to Go (pdf)
Drinking water helps you stay healthy and do your best in Special Olympics competitions. Drinking water also:
- Helps you digest food
- Helps your body get vitamins and minerals out of the foods you eat
- Keeps you cool when it’s hot or you are exercising hard
- Helps you stay in a good mood
Give Me 5 (pdf)
Get your five fruits and vegetables every day the Healthy Athlete way! It’s never too late to change how you eat so you can feel healthy and be fit for sports.
Bone builders (pdf)
Be good to your bones. They’re yours forever. You have 206 bones in your body. That’s a lot of bones to take care of! Why do you need bones? Bones are important because they are the frame of your body, called your skeleton.
Sun safety (pdf)
While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable and fun, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to UV radiation in sunlight can result in a painful sunburn.