Center’s first health fair targets youth, elderly

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Bogue Chitto/Lincoln County Community Center filled withhealth-conscious community members Saturday at its first-everhealth fair.

“We’re feeling our way through this first one, but I feel likeit’s done well,” said community center President Charles Edwards.”We’re planning on making it an annual event.”

Edwards said he and other community center officials came upwith the idea for a health fair at one of their regularmeetings.

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“We were sitting there brainstorming ways to help people in thecommunity, and the idea of a health fair came up,” he said. “Themission is to inform the community on ways to stay healthy, with anemphasis on the youth and the elderly.”

Common health problems today are often ones that can bemonitored and corrected, Edwards said, and the health fair seemedexactly the way to address some of those needs.

“We realize the problems today with high blood pressure andheart disease, and we realize we’ve got a lot of seniors who don’tknow a lot about Medicaid these days,” Edwards said. “We’ve inviteddifferent businesses here to educate the community on thesetopics.”

Edwards said education is key, because some health problems arethe kind that lead to other health problems down the road. He saidif people are taught what to look for, they can lead healthier andmore successful lives.

“If parents become aware of things like childhood obesity andwork to correct it, there is less likelihood that those childrenwill grow up and have high blood pressure,” he said. “We have toget people involved.”

Fellow community center member Alfred Dillon agreed that thebest way to begin battling problems with health is through thebrain.

“Knowledge is power, and absence of knowledge is ignorance,” hesaid. “A person with access to this kind of information can helpnot only his own personal life, but those of his immediate familyand friends.”

Sta-Home Health Agency Branch Manager Brenda Hall said hercompany was on hand screening blood glucose levels for the event.She said the health fair was a good opportunity for the communityto come together and learn about health options that are availableto them.

“We’re here to help the community,” she said. “We need toanticipate and help address the needs of others, and this is agreat way to let them know what’s out there.”

In addition to health-related booths, there was a booth wherechildren’s fingerprints could be taken by the Lincoln CountySheriff’s Department, as well as face painting, door prizes andrefreshments. There were also presentations and demonstrations byvarious vendors.

Dr. Barbara Bouie was on hand to learn how to use a fireextinguisher. She good-naturedly said it was quite anadventure.

“I did learn how to extinguish a fire,” she said, laughing. “Iwas white all over. I learned something: Let someone else doit.”

BFD Fire Inspector Andre Spiller said Bouie had been a victim ofunfortunate timing.

“The wind changed directions on her while she was using it,” hesaid.

Community center officials said they might possibly put onanother health fair before the end of the summer, but that they aredefinitely working toward making it a yearly event.

“It’s gone well,” said Treasurer Johnny Hall, Sr. “And of coursewe’d like to build our participation.”