Addressing health needs of people with intellectual disabilities in developing countries
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Background: People with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience specialized health needs and limited access to health services. Special Olympics (SO) implemented Healthy Athletes (HA) to provide SO athletes with health screenings, education, and referrals for follow-up care. Since 1997, HA has conducted 1.2 million screenings across seven disciplines: health promotion, podiatry, fitness, audiology, vision, dentistry, and sports physicals. Results are aggregated into the largest database on the health of people with ID. Methods: More than 70% of SO athletes live in developing countries. As SO continues to expand, questions exist about conducting HA in developing countries compared to developed countries. To examine differing health problems in developing and developed countries, data from 332,327 screenings from 152 countries were analyzed. Results: Oral health issues were more prevalent in athletes from developing countries; for example, 55.6% of athletes from developing countries had untreated tooth decay compared to 27.3% of athletes from developed countries. Disparities in access were evident as 52.2% of athletes from developing countries reported never having an eye exam compared to 7.2% from developed countries. Meanwhile, obesity, low bone density, and failing hearing tests were bigger problems in developed countries. Discussion: Special Olympics has given 1,791 grants to developing countries to conduct HA. In 2012 SO launched its Healthy Communities initiative to focus on local health issues in South Africa, Malawi, Romania, Kazakhstan, Peru, Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. Next steps include continued capacity building in Healthy Communities, country-level data analysis, and continued partnership development to adapt HA protocols to local contexts.
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Describe the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screening program; Understand the health problems experienced by people with intellectual disabilities in developing and developed countries; Understand what Special Olympics is doing to address these health problems and health differences
Keyword(s): Disability, International Public Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Senior Manager of Research and Evaluation for Special Olympics and am responsible for managing the Healthy Athletes data. My MPH in epidemiology, experiences working at Special Olympics, and knowledge of the health of people with intellectual disabilities make me qualified to analyze these data and present on the results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.