The 2nd Annual Health Fair drew a crowd to Harding Park Saturday where more than 300 people learned about healthier living - such as replacing high sugar soft drinks that contribute to obesity and diabetes with drinking water - and received free health screenings provided by the Ventura County Health Care Agency. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley hosted the event, sponsored by Assemblyman Das Williams.

2nd Annual Health Fair draws crowd
that learns about healthier living

August 20, 2014
Santa Paula News

“Rethink your drink!” might sound somewhat Shakespearean, but it was just one of the snippets of sound advice offered at Saturday’s 2nd Annual Health Fair.

Sponsored by 37th Assemblyman Das Williams and hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, the fair drew more than 300 visitors to Harding Park.

The booth urging “Rethink your drink” focused on replacing sugary drinks - whether carbonated sodas or fruit juices - with water to cut down on the epidemic of obesity suffered by children, which in turn can cause childhood diabetes and even early heart conditions.

Fire Station 82 had an engine on display and more than a dozen organizations were on hand to offer a wide-array of health information. 

Housed in a series of oversized RVs Ventura County Medical Center/Santa Paula Hospital offered an array of free health screenings ranging from BMI and blood pressure and blood sugar testing to dental and vision evaluations... even “walk-in” free mammograms were offered.

More than 100 people received services according to Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios, William’s District Director.

The park was filled with visitors that Zumba-ed to tunes spun by DJ Rene Sanchez Jr. while Williams stood nearby talking to health fair visitors.

When you challenge others’ to take better care of their health, “You have to live your values,” said Williams of the half-eaten apple in his hand.

The Health Fair is both a way to bring the community together and “Handle a concrete need” of better health through better services for early detection, diet, exercise and an overall healthier lifestyle for kids and their families.

And that includes hiking: “I had hiked the Sespe Wilderness when I was a kid,” an experience and activity that Williams said should be emulated by children, “Who will live longer lives from it... “

Covered California had a booth explaining the Affordable Health Care Act and assistance in signing up while Food Share offered bags of free produce to demonstrate healthy eating as well as a four-page print out of where free food is distributed throughout Ventura County.

Visitors even came from Ventura and Ojai for the fair. 

It is estimated that more than 60 percent of adults and about 40 percent of children are overweight or even obese, which leads to diabetes and other health problems, especially among Latinos.

“The Health Fair really inspires me to take better care of myself and my kids,” said Ellen Ortiz of Santa Paula. “When I take my kids to the different booths that show how important good nutrition and exercise are it’s not just their mom telling them! They even did Zumba and loved it.”

An added bonus said Ortiz was her daughter was able to ask questions about joining the Girl Scouts. 

Santa Paula General Dentistry Dr. Paul Reyes had a booth where good dental hygiene was stressed as well as the overall health benefits of same.

Amisha DeYoung-Dominguez, Williams’ field representative, said Ventura County Health Care Agency’s Adriana Gonzalez, a community outreach coordinator, “Was so great to work with,” this year expanding the number of free health screening services to Health Fair attendees.

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