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Special Olympics Research

Promoting Health for Persons with Mental Retardation* — A Critical Journey Barely Begun

This report is the result of an analysis that was undertaken to identify and highlight the health status and needs of persons with mental retardation and to suggest approaches that could be implemented, given current knowledge and technology, to improve both the length and quality of their lives over the coming decade.

Length and quality of life are central concerns of numerous high-level policy initiatives in many countries, including the United States. The launch of the Healthy People 2010 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, November 2000) initiative marks the third decade of a national commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Americans.

Consistent with policies of Special Olympics, the findings, conclusions and recommendations in this report have been shared with a number of Special Olympics athletes.

* Note: In 2004, Special Olympics updated its official terminology from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disabilities" — previously the term mental retardation was used throughout the Special Olympics movement because of its specific meaning in clinical and academic settings. Other terminology — including cognitive delay, intellectual disabilities, intellectual handicaps, learning disability, mental disabilities and mental handicaps — is used around the world.