Special Olympics athletes get useful health advice via Healthy Athletes Programme

Fatimah (centre) observes an athlete undergoing health check.

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SIBU, July 2: Some 20 per cent of the 360 athletes participating in the 6th Special Olympics (SO) State Games 2022 have been diagnosed with hypertension, a common health issue among the athletes.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Healthy Athletes Programme (HAP) at SJK (C) Thien Hua, Sibujaya today, Women, Early Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said one of the athletes even has a blood pressure reading of 160.

“Around 20 per cent of the SO athletes undergoing HAP this morning were found to have hypertension. They are young people but they are showing signs of high blood pressure. This health screening helps to alert parents whose children have hypertension to bring them to the health clinic for treatment,” she said.

Fatimah, who is also the Chairperson of SO Sarawak said the health screening had helped diagnose 15 per cent of the athletes who needed their blood pressure regulated, while the rest would need to have their glasses replaced, had hearing and dental problems and some who wore the wrong size shoes which hampered their performance in their sport.

“At least 40 per cent are obese and need to learn what they are taking that made them obese and at risk of sickness. Unfortunately, in past Games we did have a Head of Delegations and Coaches who focused very much on the sports and games performance, and somehow missed the opportunity to get their athletes screened in HAP – which is very heartbreaking,” she said.

At the screening, she revealed it was also found that some of the athletes have BMI (body mass index) issue that could lead to hypertension.

“We have nutritionists to advise them on taking healthy food especially to avoid those with high sugar and salt content including those foods that are too oily and fatty,” said Fatimah.

The programme at the two-day Games is a free health screening and education for the 360 SO athletes and 106 coaches taking part in five sport events, namely swimming, track and field, soccer, bocce, badminton and table tennis.

HAP programme in Sibu involve 110 health and general volunteers, including specialist doctors, dentist, therapists, nurses, assistant medical and dental officers, optometrists and audiologists with the Clinical Directors flying in from Kuching and Miri. — DayakDaily