Agency News | Helping consumers with IDD achieve a healthier lifestyle
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Helping consumers with IDD achieve a healthier lifestyle

Cheers, claps and smiles filled the room as participants of the HealthMatters Program received their graduation certificates. This recognition came after individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) completed a 12-week training in which they learned about good nutrition and the importance of increasing exercise.

“The HealthMatters Program is a partnership between the community and academia with a common aim to improve the health of people with developmental disabilities. The program helps persons with disabilities make choices about health, exercise and nutrition,” said ICF-IDD & TxHmL Services Department Director Lily Pan.

Promoting Fitness for All, HealthMatters had a variety of hands-on activities for participants which included exercising, shopping for healthy food items, discussions on nutritional information and others. The program also allowed parents to learn how to support a healthy lifestyle for their loved ones.

“With the hands-on activities, persons with disabilities increase motivation and skills they need to improve their health and make good habits last a lifetime,” Lily said.
The Arc of Greater Houston is the project coordinator and in March of 2016, individuals who attend The Harris Center Gessner Day Program were informed about HealthMatters. Within the Gessner Day Program, individuals participate in community activities like the HealthMatters Program, along with choir practice, the Home Depot Workshop, bowling and the Exercise & Scrapbook Program in the Alief Community Center, just to name a few.

“The Gessner Day Program offers habilitation services tailored to the varied needs of the individuals with a focus on community integration,” said Lily.
Most health promotion activities are usually targeted to the general population, and individuals with intellectual disabilities are left behind.

That is why programs like HealthMatters are highly important in our community. Initiatives like these are to help individuals stay active and involved.
“Persons with low health literacy have higher utilization of treatment services. Improved health education and health literacy is a critical component for persons with intellectual disabilities to gain control over their health and manage chronic conditions,” Lily said.

In addition to this program, The Harris Center offers a variety of other programs that help individuals with IDD. For more information contact the HelpLine at 713-970-7000.


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