A double dose of health

Published 8:13 pm Monday, February 1, 2010

Suffolk residents can get a double dose of good health this weekend.

On Saturday, both the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and NAACP will host free health fairs. With activities for everyone in the family, “Heart Healthy Day” will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at SCCA, and the NAACP will hold a “Community-Wide Health Fair” from 9 a.m. to noon at Tabernacle Christian Church.

“We want to encourage people in Suffolk to be heart healthy,” said Jackie Cherry of SCCA. “It’s important for people to be educated so they can make their own decisions for their lifestyles.”

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The events’ goals are to provide the community with the knowledge and tools to lead healthier lifestyles.

“We want to bring health awareness to the community,” said Charles Gates of the NAACP. “Because of the lifestyle people are living now days, you may live longer, but if you spend the last 10-20 years not enjoying the good quality of life, it’s not the kind of life you want to lead.”

Sentara Healthcare, a sponsor of the SCCA’s event, will provide free screenings for health risk assessments, cholesterol, blood pressure, heel bone density, strength and EKG screenings to monitor the health of your heart. For a $20 fee, it will also make a pocket-sized result card with information from an EKG screening and blood pressure to carry incase of emergency.

In addition to medical exhibits, there will be a wide array of educational and fun activities for members of the whole family. A fire truck will be available for children to tour, as well as the National Night Out mascot.

“It’s an event for the whole family,” Cherry said.

Free H1N1 shots also will be provided by the Suffolk Health Department, and Mosiac Café will provide tips about making healthy diet choices. East Suffolk Community Center also will show citizens how to take the first step to fitness by teaching them to exercise at home for free.

The NAACP will host more than 25 health care professionals and provide blood pressure screenings, along with a Wii fit demonstration, healthy cooking tips and free HIV testing.

“We’re taking a unique perspective on healthy living,” Gates said. “We’re bringing a video game store in as a presenter to do a presentation on the Wii game system.”

Gates will also help lead a “Let’s Get Real” presentation, which focuses on fitness for all ages, from 8 to 80.

“Do not come in a suit and tie – come in your sneakers because we’re going to have a lot of fun,” he said.