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October 04, 2012 | Europe Eurasia: Ireland

Increasing Healthy Eating Among Special Olympics Athletes

By Karl Hejlik

Pictured left to right: Lynn Conroy, Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health Kathleen Lynch T.D., and Carol Nairn

A Health Promotion resource developed in coordination with Special Olympics Ireland has increased health knowledge and health behaviours, most notably a 48% increase in participants meeting the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, according to report issued Oct. 2. Ireland's Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health Kathleen Lynch T.D., attended the launch of the report titled "The Development and Evaluation of a Health Promotion Programme for People with Intellectual Disabilities". "It is wonderful to hear how much of a difference it has already made to the participants in such a relatively short period of time. If this programme shows us anything, it is that health and sport go hand in hand and that positive lifestyle changes are important and beneficial to us all," Minister Lynch said. Feedback from participants indicated that the user-friendly nature of the pack ensured that they were more inclined to follow its direction. It was evident that by relating the importance of health to sport, the participants felt more encouraged to make a health change.

About Karl Hejlik: I am Senior Manager, Health and Research Communications for SOI in Washington DC

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