Health fair is Saturday
Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 4:09 p.m.
Local residents are encouraged to attend this year's King Week 2007 health fair, where they can become empowered with knowledge about living healthier lives.
Health Empowerment Day will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multi-purpose Center at 1028 NE 14th St., and the event promises to be a family affair. The theme this year for King Week is ''Empowerment for the Decade: Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies.''
More than 60 vendors will be on hand, and there will be tips offered on how to prepare healthy meals, as well as a lot of other information.
"The Eastside High School Culinary Arts program will be on hand providing samples of how healthy foods taste," said Alachua County Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut, who also is the chair of the event and the director of education and community outreach at the UF/Shands Eastside Community Practice.
"There will be free cholesterol screenings for the first 25 visitors," Chestnut said, adding that there will be a $10 fee for others receiving the test.
Chestnut said there also will be free blood pressure testing, diabetes testing, lung screenings and cardiovascular screenings provided by Santa Fe Community College's Health Sciences Department. She said the University of Florida will have some dental students there to demonstrate brushing and flossing for children.
She also said free massages will be given, people will be able to sign up for library cards, and there will be a health expert corner that will provide information about different health issues.
Three Rivers Legal Service, the March of Dimes, and officials from CHOICES also will be on hand, in addition to other organizations offering information.
Chestnut said heath tips will be given hourly, and that "Did You Know" health facts will be posted around the room.
"I want this health fair to have a lasting impact on the community," Chestnut said. "If we can get people to change their behavior in a moderate way from the information we provide, they will have a better quality of life. People will be able to come away from the screenings knowing where they stand, and can take the proper measures to get themselves healthy.
"This is going to be a health fair for the whole family," she said.
She went on to say that it is important for blacks to dialogue about health issues. She said diabetes is a big problem in the black community, and that blacks are 197 percent more likely to die from diabetes than whites in Alachua County.
"This is the seventh year of the health fair, and it was created to get preventive health information to east Gainesville residents," Chestnut said. "We can make healthy choices for our lives once we are empowered."
She said she expects more than 300 people to attend the health fair, and she thanked corporate sponsors, McDonald's of Gainesville, Kangaroo of Gainesville, Shands Health Care, and SFCC for their support in making sure the event will be a success.
"McDonald's is proud to sponsor the 2007 Shands Eastside Community Health Fair, the sixth year of our ongoing support of this important event in our community," said Jackie Paris, the owner/operator of all the McDonald's in Gainesville. "The theme of this year's event, 'Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies,' embodies the principles established by McDonald's 'Balanced, Active Lifestyles' framework.
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