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ERIC Number: EJ886930
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1741-1122
Evaluation of Community-Based Health Promotion Programs for Special Olympics Athletes
Marks, Beth; Sisirak, Jasmina; Heller, Tamar; Wagner, Mark
Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, v7 n2 p119-129 Jun 2010
Health screenings conducted during Special Olympics competitions and games have consistently shown that a significant number of athletes with intellectual disabilities (IDs) were overweight or obese, and surveys have indicated that athletes need more fitness training than they receive from their sport practices. In 2002, Special Olympics initiated five community-based health promotion pilot projects for athletes. The projects lasted multiple weeks across the U.S. and were aimed at improving physical fitness and lifestyle behaviors. This study reports on an evaluation of the program and on predictors of program success. The subjects included 56 athletes with ID who participated in these five programs. Data were drawn from interviews with the participants and 54 coaches, residential staff, and parents at baseline and after program completion, along with data from five program directors after program completion. Qualitative and quantitative findings were presented for the following areas: psychosocial and physical health status, physical and nutrition cognitions and supports, and health behaviors among the athletes; program satisfaction among coaches and athletes; and process and structural variables associated with implementation of the programs. Positive psychosocial and health benefits included improved perceived health, reduced body weight, increased fiber intake, improved self-confidence, more positive attitudes toward exercise, and decreased barriers to exercising. Several themes emerged related to implementing health promotion programs, such as obtaining "buy-in" from athletes, coaches, family members, and carers to ensure ongoing support; implementing structured recruitment strategies; formalizing existing relationships; and identifying and incorporating time, money, and transportation constraints and assessment protocols into the program design. Results support the need to broaden health promotion programs to more community-based settings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A