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Keep giving good advice

A health fair to be hosted by the Suffolk chapter of the NAACP on Saturday is only the latest in a series of events designed to help Suffolk residents learn about and improve their fitness and health. Folks in Suffolk, as it turns out, are more likely to be overweight and under-exercised than the average Virginia resident, so such an effort is worthwhile.

The NAACP’s event will include blood pressure and HIV screenings, healthy cooking tips, booths featuring 25 health care providers from around the area and a free, “for women only” seminar designed to teach exercise techniques and provide medical and food education. There might even be a demonstration of how to use the Wii game console for fitness training, providing sedentary Suffolkians with one more reason to get off the couch.

Saturday’s health fair is hardly the first to come to Suffolk. In recent months, similar events have been held at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, and the YMCA regularly promotes good health to folks around the city — both members and non-members — by organizing fun runs like the Spring Stride that was held at Lone Star Lakes Park on Saturday. And the Suffolk Foundation for a Healthy Community exists solely to develop and promote an agenda aimed at creating healthier city residents.

Clearly a lack of health-related knowledge — or at least access to that knowledge — is not at the heart of Suffolk’s health problems. Nor is there a lack of opportunity to be active. Instead, Suffolk’s fitness-related health problems are largely self-imposed and self-perpetuating.

To those who keep harping on the need for healthier eating and more exercise, it must seem their efforts are futile as they watch their friends and neighbors continue to grow in girth and lethargy. Thanks to that commitment, however, every Suffolk resident who finally chooses to get active has an easy way to do so and a ready-made support network.