Health expo encourages people to be aware

Maryann Kopp

The Heart & Stroke Health Expo 2007 was held at the East Hills Mall on Saturday, Feb. 10. It spread mainly throughout the middle of the mall, with the food court taking center stage. There was a myriad of booths providing health screenings and information, all free to the public.

A fairly large turnout participated in all sorts of health assessments, from cholesterol screenings to EKG recordings, as well as drawings, which took place every 30 minutes. No purchase was necessary to take place in any of the drawings, but the only way a person could be a candidate for any of the prizes was by visiting at least 12 booths and receiving a stamp on a card to validate the visit.

One of the local organizations represented there was “Get Moving Kern.” According to Jennifer Henry, executive director of Links for Life, “‘Get Moving Kern’ is a local group of individuals and organizations working together to counteract the overweight and obesity problem in Kern County.”

The organization’s motto is “Healthy Eating and Active Living.” They have launched “Get Moving Kern’s Virtual Walk Across America” and encourage the public to find out more at their Web site, “We need to be healthy,” Henry added.

Bakersfield College’s campus nurse, Debra Strong, was present and promoting the new PHIT program and the Health and Wellness Fair, which is to take place at BC on May 1. Visitors were informed about how they could benefit from the PHIT program, as well as how they could sign up.

BC students are eligible to use the many benefits that PHIT has to offer upon paying the required health fee when registering and receiving a health examination from the campus physician. “It is a wonderful program,” Strong said.

In addition to the booths from organizations such as One Legacy, Santa Barbara Business College, the American Heart Association and Mercy Hospital, there were little performances put on by “Jump for Heart Kids.” Each performance was set to music and children of all ages jumped rope and did tricks, like doing cartwheels into a moving rope or jumping over the rope while lying down on the ground. Each demonstration ended with the participating kids doing a dance.

Curious onlookers could see a plastic representation of what five pounds of fat looks like or how to perform CPR on one of many dummies, and sometimes at the same booth. Some booths offered key chains while others gave out heart-shaped stress balls.

The expo offered a great deal of information for all present individuals who were searching for answers to their questions regarding heart disease and stroke.