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TUCE SENIOR OLYMPICS

Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension (TUCE) has a long history of serving the Alabama Black Belt communities in Family Home and Consumer Sciences. Specifically, one of its flagship programs has been the Senior Olympics program. This program has been in service for over 20 years and promotes physical and mental health for senior citizens in the Alabama Black Belt and beyond.

TUCE specialists and educators noted the growing obesity problem in America and the contributions of adult inactivity to even more health diseases and disorders in our region. To proactively address this issue, the Senior Olympics was born. The Senior Olympics promotes healthy lifestyles for senior citizens through fitness, sports, and active life involvement. In addition to the fitness component, some senior citizens participate in weight management classes to monitor their weight. Participants also receive information to encourage a healthy diet and exercise schedule, along with nutrition sessions on preventing heart disease and controlling diabetes. The strong relationships established through the Senior Olympics have resulted in year-long activity through new walking clubs in each area.

The ultimate idea was to culminate a year's worth of education and activity into these relatively large events that would promote social health and well-being. At the Senior Olympic Games, seniors participate in various activities to include competitive games: basketball free throw, horseshoe, bowling, musical chairs, checkers, card games, dominoes, arts, crafts, and bingo. The games are held annually at local schools and community centers in Greene, Lowndes, and Macon counties while providing intergenerational connections. Every year seniors from Dallas, Perry, Montgomery, Bullock, Barbour, Greene, Hale, Sumter, Marengo, and Macon Counties travel to the location closest to their area and participate in the TUCE Senior Olympics.