YMCA, Methodist health fair promotes prevention - September 27, 2014

Courtesy of NWI Times

September 27, 2014 10:00 pm   •   SUSAN EMERY Times Correspondent

VALPARAISO  |  Those attending the family health and wellness fair at the Valparaiso YMCA on Sunday had a common goal: stay healthy.

It was the third fair offered by the YMCA and Methodist Hospitals, featuring free exercise classes, health screenings and healthy cooking demonstrations.

The fairs focus on prevention and provide information in a relaxed, non-intimidating setting, said Bob Wanek, chief executive officer with the Valparaiso YMCA.

“People can just walk in here and get some really valuable information about health that gives them peace of mind,” he said.

Nutrition, diabetes, physical therapy, breast health, oncology, orthopedics and smoking cessation were among the topics on display.

At the physical therapy table, people got the chance to test their grip strength and overall balance.

Jeanette Frederick, 73, of Valparaiso, passed the grip test with flying colors.

“I was told I have the grip of a 40-year-old,” said Frederick, who attends all the fairs.

“I just want to see how I’m doing and keep my health up,” she said.

Christian Anderson, 69, of Valparaiso, is a prostate cancer survivor who has participated in the Livestrong at the YMCA program. He said it was his first time attending the fair.

“I’m here to get an overall evaluation on the things that need a moderate to an ungodly amount of help,” he said.

Gloria Gatch, 54, of Valparaiso, is having knee replacement surgery in November and said she came to get information about nutrition. She spoke with Kristina Greene, diabetes educator and nutritionist with Methodist Hospitals, and she also had her bone density tested.

Lee Baker, senior director of programs with the Valpo YMCA, said the Y is planning to launch a diabetes prevention program at the end of January.

The yearlong program is for people at risk for developing diabetes and will focus on behavior modification, reducing body weight by 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes a week, Baker said.

“One in three people in Porter County are at risk for developing diabetes,” she said. “It’s a major health problem in our society.”