101ARC Wellness & Healthy Lifestyles: Making Health and Wellness Fun

ARC Wellness LogoAchieving optimal health is important for everyone, but brings special meaning to individuals with developmental disabilities.

According to the National Core Indicators (NCI) Adult Consumer Survey, only 22 percent of Ohioans with developmental disabilities engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise three days a week. When individuals’ Body Mass Index (BMI) was measured, 31 percent are overweight (compared to 29 percent across NCI states) and 35 percent are obese (compared to 33 percent).

To help individuals live healthier lives, the Board of Directors of ARC Industries, an affiliate of the Franklin County Board, recently approved funding to develop Healthy Lifestyles, a wellness program focusing on four areas: Exercise, nutrition, caregiver education and community integration.

“Helping individuals and caregivers understand the importance of staying healthy and giving them the tools to live healthy lives can improve outcomes,” said Mary Jane Timmons, director of Healthy Lifestyles. “We want to make getting and staying healthy easy and fun.”

All ARC consumer-employees can participate in activities, including Health Fairs, the Virtual Walk, and the Discover My Abilities 5K.

Individual sits in a kayak and learns to paddle.

Domenic Buccilla with Hero USA helps an ARC consumer-employee learn more about kayaking at the ARC South health fair.

  • Health Fairs: June 23, 24, and 25, individuals attended an on-site health fair, where they learned about healthy eating, exercise, and more.
  • The Virtual Walk: Between July 6 and September 18, individuals will walk the distance from Columbus to Disneyland. Participants will track their progress on a large map posted in each of the facilities.
  • Discover My Abilities 5K: September 13, individuals can participate in a 5K, presented by ARC Wellness and New Leaf Wellness Team. The 5K benefits the Special Olympics of Franklin County.

In addition to the activities for all ARC consumer-employees, between July 6 and November 20, 12 individuals from each facility will participate in a pilot program. Pilot activities will cover:

  • Nutrition: Weekly hands-on activities will teach the value of healthy foods, and offer the opportunity to touch and feel different foods. Participants will get take-home information to refer to later.
  • Movement. Weekly sessions will incorporates a warm-up, cardio/aerobic session, cool down, and stretching/flexibility. Participants will learn a new exercise each week.
  • Community Integration. Program leaders are developing partnerships with the YMCA, Community Connections, Local Matters, Wellness Matters, Cooking Matters, including planning off-site activities.
  • Personal Wellness Portfolio. Participants will receive weekly ‘in good health’ information. At the conclusion of the program, they will receive a personalized wellness program to follow going forward.
  • Caregiver Education. Caregivers will receive information they can use to supplement the program on an ongoing basis.

Mary Jane said the team will look at the results from the pilot to make changes and hopefully expand the program next year.

For more information, contact Mary Jane at mj1timmons@gmail.com or 614-270-7588