The Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund is partnering with Special Olympics Canada to provide increased access to nutrition education for Canadians with intellectual disabilities.
A common thread in all Special Olympics Canada programs, whether daily sport programs or Team Canada on the world stage, is the need for increased focus on the importance of good nutrition. Research shows that Canadians with intellectual disabilities face significant adverse health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Nutrition education is critical to reducing the risk of chronic disease.
Data on the health status of individuals with intellectual disabilities indicates that 60 per cent of adult Special Olympics athletes are obese and overweight. Of those athletes screened in the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, 27 per cent had low bone density and the overall mortality rate of people with intellectual disabilities is more than five times higher than people the same age, sex, and residence.
The partnership between Special Olympics Canada and the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund will result in early introduction of better food, knowledge, and skills in order to help combat the increased risk of chronic disease, additional stresses of families with members who have intellectual disabilities, and the need for increased food knowledge. Thousands of Canadians living with intellectual disabilities – from two years of age to senior citizens – as well as their families, caregivers, and coaches will access nutrition guides, cooking classes, and fresh accessible food, through the hundreds of local Special Olympics programs across the country.
Launched in 2014, the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund supports access to and the advancement of better food through donations and partnerships with national and regional charities. The Fund has three distinct areas of focus:
- Eat Better – food access through the support of food banks and meal programs
- Feel Better – health management, prevention, and research on food-related health issues
- Do Better – food literacy through nutrition education and cooking skills
“Together with Special Olympics Canada, the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund will make better food possible for families, athletes, and coaches in the Special Olympics Canada community,” said Marc Poulin, President and CEO, Sobeys Inc. “This is just the beginning of an exciting partnership that will result in more of our neighbours living with intellectual disabilities eating better, feeling better, and doing better.”
“We are proud to partner with the Sobeys Inc, Better Food Fund,” said Sharon Bollenbach, CEO of Special Olympics Canada. “Special Olympics Canada and Sobeys believe in the need for new and improved health and nutrition resources that will have a positive impact on the lives of Canadians with intellectual disabilities. Together, we can change the game and set our athletes, and their families, caregivers, and coaches, on a course for a long, healthy, active life. ”
In March 2011, Special Olympics BC athlete Matthew Williams inspired a room full of 500 Safeway employees from the Lower Mainland on the kickoff day of Safeway's fundraising campaign for Special Olympics. Watch Matt in action below: