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January 28, 2014 | North America: Minnesota

Family Health Forum Results In Ongoing Fitness Opportunities

By Lynn Erickson

“I was introduced to Zumba and Kirby at an exhibition at the State Bocce Tournament in 2012. I was hooked! Zumba is a great way to get in shape and to be healthy, and it is super fun!” shared Abby Hirsch (left), a Special Olympics athlete, who participates in the weekly Zumba class Kirby (right) teaches.

Special Olympics Minnesota hosted a Family Health Forum at Stillwater Area High School in June 2013, and the impact of the health education taught at the event continues to be felt in the community. In June, a total of 694 people - 435 athletes and 259 family members - participated in the forum. A wide variety of topics over three days addressed locally-relevant topics including fitness activities (such as Zumba and yoga) and health education (such as nutrition choices and sun safety).

One of the continuing impacts of this Family Health Forum is a Zumba class in which a number of Special Olympics athletes participate each week. Kirby Mackay, a Special Olympics volunteer and Zumba dance instructor, engaged a number of athletes in Zumba during the forum in June as she had done at previous Special Olympics events. Due to its popularity, there now is an inclusive class each week that features Special Olympics athletes, family members and people from throughout the community.

About Lynn Erickson: Manager, Health Communications

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