‘Family Health Fair’ urges all to eat healthy, be active!
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: August 30, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Encouraging people to take control of their own lives to better the health of their families was the theme of Saturday’s “Family Health Fair,” held at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley.
There were dozens of booths set up, including the Smoke House fire safety trailer for the kids, games, free health assessments and testing, menu planning, and information about a variety of programs and more at the fair sponsored by Assemblyman Das Williams.
After stopping at the Fit Fusion display, Williams said that when it comes to being healthy, “Government alone can’t solve every problem.... More powerful is personal decisions” that including walking more, using the stairs and eating healthier.
“We have demonstrations here on healthier foods, meal preparation and family nutrition. Locally,” said Williams, “it is estimated that more than 60 percent of adults and about 40 percent of children are overweight or even obese, and that’s pretty bad,” especially as weight is linked to so many health problems including diabetes that can start in childhood. He noted, “We can beat this epidemic of obesity but we must take action.”
Such action can also include using public transportation: “VISTA is such a great service,” and public transportation is not only good for environment. “People that take the bus walk more and save money, they usually have to walk a few blocks just to catch the bus,” and then once dropped at their stop walk a bit more to reach their final destination.
Williams said his office organized Saturday’s health fair “from the ground up,” a reflection of local needs being recognized and serviced. “I’ve watched the politics of Santa Paula for years,” said Williams, “and sometimes it was neglected ... We want to be a real presence here and do as much as we can for the residents.”
About 500 people attended the event that included a display by Blanchard Community Library - “Reading makes for healthy minds,” said Williams - and health providers such as Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, which was offering screenings.
The community hospital went bankrupt and closed in 2003; three years later the renovated facility - purchased by Ventura County Health Care Agency - reopened. “We are so blessed to have that hospital,” said Williams, who noted he was a recent Emergency Room patient following an accident.
Booths encouraged people to reach for water instead of sugary-filled sodas and high-sugar juices, and highlighted child resource development and social service agencies. Food Share was giving out bags with samples of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables, and group Zumba lessons were given on an ongoing basis.
Medical Assistant Maria “Lulu” Gonzales of the Ventura County Medical Center was helping with health assessments that included blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, weight and body fat checked. She said she was pleased: “There has been a lot of people that stopped by” for the mini-checkups followed by a brief consultation.
Giselle Jones, an administrative RN with Clinicas Del Camino Real, said it had been busy: “It’s been a great day, lots of people checking their blood sugar, it’s always a good thing to check for diabetes.” Jones’ advice was uniform but heartfelt: “Exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself... and be happy!”