head: 9Health Fair attracts record number
FARMER’S KORNER – At the 9Health Fair Saturday, it was all about the numbers: height in inches, weight in pounds, ratios of blood pressure and 700 vials of the red stuff.
“I know you’re only 30, but you’ve got to get that number under 25,” volunteer Steve Immer explained to a young man looking over the paperwork for his body mass index evaluation.
In all, about 1,000 people turned out for the health screening to be poked, prodded and peeked at, and attendees were happy for it. The Summit High School stop is one of 148 around the state and required the help of more than 100 volunteers. Physicians, physical therapists and medical assistants offered screenings for vision, bone density, spinal alignment, balance, blood pressure and carpal tunnel syndrome, to name a few.
According to coordinator and Frisco chiropractor David Amli, the one-stop health shop gives Summit County residents a unique opportunity to explore their health.
“Just about everything’s free, except for the blood work,” said Amli, who had a blood sample taken for analysis himself. “And for someone to try and schedule an appointment with each of these people would take months. And I think most people here are curious about their health. If they’ve come in past years, they can compare the results and look at their health over time. It’s a great opportunity.”
The statewide health fair is in its 23rd year, according to director Dianne Pape, and has served more than 1 million people. The health-curious have made the project the largest community service initiative in the state.
“When you can get $300 blood work done for $30, people really take advantage of that,” Pape said. “And it could get bigger: Eighty percent of the people who come in have medical insurance, so we know there’s plenty more people we could be serving.”
Pape said 13 percent of those who had blood tests done last year were alerted to an underlying condition of which they hadn’t be aware.
After seeing the event advertised for several years, Silverthorne’s Linda Ward decided it was time to bring her husband and son to check it out.
“We always said this was something we should do,” Ward said. “We finally made it out this year. It’s great, because it’s free and it’s an easy way to get checked out. And the people seem to be very nice and helpful.”
Silverthorne resident John Hasegawa has come to the health fair three of the past five years, he said. He braved the needle and had blood drawn, as well. Hasegawa said he can’t remember the last time he had a physical exam and the health fair is his way of making sure he doesn’t get surprised by any illness.
“Some of these things can creep up on you,” he said. “This is what I do every once in a while to see how I’m doing.”
The health fair also gave community organizations a chance to promote their health messages and services. Red Cross volunteers, Colorado West Mental Health and the Summit Prevention Alliance distributed pamphlets and paperwork hoping to raise people’s awareness of health-related issues.
“We’re just trying to promote healthy lifestyles and decisions,” said Summit Prevention Alliance executive director Jeannie Ringleberg, who had a spinal exam just find out what it was like. “But looking around at all these people interested in their health, I think we might be preaching to the choir.”
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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