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Public Health

IHLGiS - Inclusive Healthy Lifestyle groups in Schools 

In a world where individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) often face exclusion and inadequate services, this project is setting out to make a change. The mission of the IHLGIS initiative is to enhance the health and wellbeing of people with ID across Europe. The project aims to achieve this through an array of measures such as health screenings, intervention programmes, and education for healthcare professionals, students, and families.

The project is backed by a consortium comprising Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, Special Olympics Berlin, the Special Olympics National Programmes from Poland, Greece and Estonia, and the Department of Physical Education from the University of Athens. This team will engage with 100 schools and institutions across four EU Member States, involving over 4 000 youths with and without ID in a range of physical and health promotional activities.

Our approach focuses on:

  • creating accessible, inclusive health promotion and wellbeing programmes that cater to students with ID;
  • collaborating with community health services, families, local education establishments, and other organisations to foster an inclusive, healthy school environment and improve awareness about the health needs of people with ID;
  • amplifying awareness about the project activities in sync with the European Week of Sport, the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin 2023, and other EU health initiatives;
  • evaluating and sharing project outcomes through social media, conferences, and publications to key stakeholders and decision-makers.

The project envisions Inclusive Healthy Lifestyle groups in Schools as an enjoyable, social environment where youth with and without ID can engage in holistic, year-round healthy activities.

The specific objectives of the project include:

  • training and activating IHLGiS (youth leaders, mentor, health messengers) in participating schools;
  • implementing ongoing IHLGiS activities focusing on healthy nutrition, health literacy, and health-enhancing physical activities;
  • engaging community stakeholders, local authorities, and other organisations in the project to train and raise awareness about the health promotion needs of persons with ID;
  • evaluating the project’s impact on the health outcomes of the participants and providing best practices to stakeholders and EU Member States.
EU4health - Projects
27 JULY 2023
Factsheet - IHLGiS
(170.83 KB - PDF)


Expected results:

  1. Train 200 youth leaders with and without ID,Implement IHLGiS activities led by youth leader and mentor pairs in at least 100 schools across four EU countries.
  2. Establish IHLGIS in at least 100 schools in 4 EU countries for 4,000 students with and without ID
  3. Develop IHLGiS toolkits and inclusive education materials to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Establish local partnerships to support the project and raise awareness.
  5. Train healthcare professionals to provide Special Olympics Health Promotion and foster behavioural change towards healthy lifestyle choices.
  6. Promote healthy choices in school canteens and cafeterias.
  7. Run awareness campaigns about the project goals and outcomes in conjunction with EU initiatives.
  8. Demonstrate project impact and outcomes by conducting research design collecting quantitative and qualitative pre- and post-data.





Will Byrne

Will Byrne
Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
wbyrneatspecialolympics [dot] org
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