March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22

HEALTH & WELLNESS

The movement toward inclusive
health can start small and grow from
simple conversations with people with
intellectual disabilities (ID) in your
community.

Inclusive Health in Parks and Recreation
By Deon Villasencio

P

eople with intellectual disabilities (ID) are one of the most medically underserved groups in the world. Barriers prevent people with ID
from fully accessing healthcare programs and services. In 2016, Special Olympics introduced a new strategy, called inclusive health, designed to improve overall healthcare for all people, including Special Olympics
athletes with ID. Special Olympics' vision for inclusive health is the inclusion
of all people in mainstream health policies and laws, programming, services,
training programs, and research and funding. Our hope is that by pushing for inclusive health, opportunities will be available for people with ID to access health
services and programs to achieve their full potential of living a healthy life.

Why Inclusive Health?
Inclusive health guides existing
programs and services to become
comprehensive and accessible, rather than creating separate programs
for people with ID. Historically,
because of the lack of medical service support for those with ID, these
community members typically face
significant health disparities, including obesity, diabetes, chronic pain
and heart disease. Including people
22	 Parks & Recreation

with ID in existing health programs,
like those offered through parks and
recreation, not only can improve
their health opportunities, but also
has the potential to reduce healthcare costs for the public.
Inclusive health is built on two
foundational principles: equitable
access and full participation.
These two foundational principles were developed to address
barriers people with ID face when

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trying to acquire healthcare and
access to public health systems.
These barriers include:
*	 Attitudinal - Misconceptions
that people with ID cannot live
long, healthy lives
*	 Communication - Use of complicated and inaccessible language
*	 Programmatic - Failure to make
reasonable accommodations for
people with ID
*	 Social - Lifestyle conditions that
limit accessibility
*	 Physical - Structural challenges
that block mobility

How Can Park and
Recreation Professionals
Support Inclusive Health?
Park and recreation professionals are
uniquely suited to deliver programming and services that advance the



March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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