Las Vegas, NV 8 February 2024 – For the first time in its over 50-year history, Special Olympics has created a video nutrition campaign for Special Olympics athletes, led by Special Olympics athletes. The campaign features Denver Broncos Linebacker Alex Singleton and five Special Olympics athlete leaders from the local Denver, Colorado area. Launched yesterday during Super Bowl Media Row, the campaign targets Special Olympics athletes in their late teens and 20s to learn about the nutritional benefits of choosing healthier snacks and how healthy snacks can fuel them to feel stronger on the playing field.
Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, School of Strength: Snack Zone follows Special Olympics’ widely successful, award-winning Special Olympics School of Strength fitness campaign, launched in 2020. Because of the success of the fitness campaign among athletes worldwide, the School of Strength series has now expanded to include a specific nutrition campaign to help teach Special Olympics athletes how to take their game-day performance to the next level through nutritious snacks.
This nutrition campaign can be found at www.SpecialOlympics.org and features two, fun 3 ½ minute videos including Snacking Fundamentals and Tackling a Snacking Playbook. Snacking Fundamentals guides Special Olympics athletes through the basics of nutrition, including learning how to properly portion snacks. Easy-to-understand information about macronutrients and how these nutrients maximize energy for training and competitions is included. The Tackling a Snacking Playbook video demonstrates how to make a nutritious snack with the help of Alex Singleton and the team of athlete leaders. Making snacks for each macronutrient, the group talks about making healthy snacking a habit by creating a Snacking Playbook and using the Snack Tracker. The videos are accompanied by two downloadable, interactive resources for athletes that feature recipes, a playbook, a snack tracker, quizzes, and nutrition tips.
“When I heard that a group of Special Olympics athletes were getting together to make a nutrition video to help their friends and teammates learn tips and tricks to stay on top of their nutrition, I knew I wanted to be part of it and help use my platform to bring awareness to how Special Olympics is leveling the playing field for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to improve their health. By the end of the shoot, we were excited to share the videos with everyone and urge every athlete across the country to join us and Get In the Snack Zone! I can’t wait to share these videos and resources with my sister, who is a Special Olympics athlete and one of my biggest cheerleaders on and off the playing field.”
In the United States, 60% of Special Olympics athletes are overweight or obese. Athletes who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and gallbladder disease. The School of Strength campaign was created in response to Special Olympics athletes’ requests for the development of more fitness and health content that excites and inspires them to stay fit year-round, helping them to commit to a lifetime of healthy habits.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to be healthy and fit so we can compete at our best. I want everyone to get in the Snack Zone! This video campaign helps athletes like me understand which smart snacks can help fuel our workouts and competitions and it also takes you through the correct portion sizes. I talk about portion sizes and smart snacking in the videos and tease Alex for not getting the portion sizes correct. Proper nutrition is a big part of helping me stay on top of my golf game!”
This fun, engaging nutrition video series features Denver Broncos Linebacker Alex Singleton in the kitchen and at the news desk alongside five Special Olympics athletes leading them in a series of activities to achieve awareness of proper portioning and incorporating nutrient-dense foods that include smart snacking options for all athletes to take advantage of while on the go or making snacks in their own kitchens. Special Olympics Colorado athletes selected to participate in this campaign and educating their fellow peers with tools to help them focus on their nutrition to maintain a healthy weight for their overall health and sports performance include: Vince Egan, Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl, Jimmy Kropp, Aidan McNeese, and Lauren Kelly.
Special Olympics Fitness programming focuses on physical activity, hydration, and nutrition and offers year-round programming, including fitness clubs, fitness challenges for friends and families, and wellness classes. The School of Strength campaign is the latest addition to a selection of fitness resources created for Special Olympics athletes. Developed in 2017, the Fit 5 resource series accompanies the School of Strength campaign resources and educates and empowers athletes to live a healthy lifestyle by promoting exercising five days per week, eating five total fruits and vegetables per day, and drinking five bottles of water per day. Both the Fit 5 resources and the School of Strength campaign support a more Unified approach to fitness where people with intellectual disabilities can join their friends and family members for workouts in their homes or on the go. To date, the Fit 5 resources have been utilized by 88 Special Olympics Programs in 50 countries and have demonstrated positive health impacts on health behaviors and health outcomes.
“This campaign is a game changer for our athletes. Many of our US athletes are overweight or obese and as Alex, Vince, and the other athletes featured in our campaign demonstrate, to do your best as an athlete, you need to be as healthy as possible. There are many health and sport-related benefits of fitness for all of us, and our athletes are no exception. A healthy diet means eating nutrient-dense foods, with nutrition being a key factor in reducing an athlete’s risk for injury. And choosing the right foods, in the right amounts, at the right time can ensure our athletes have optimal energy to exercise and recover efficiently from their practices and competitions.”