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Good diet and exercise became more important to Gayle Robbins of Sonora after she learned she has diabetes.
She was among hundreds Saturday seeking more information about their health and ways to maintain their bodies during Heart Fair 2013 at Hardin Memorial Hospital.
Booths offered body fat percentage screenings, blood pressure checks, information about diet and exercise, other materials and expert advice about managing health problems and maintaining healthy lifestyles.
For the first time, free lipid panels were available to give information about cholesterol and other important health factors, and about 180 participants preregistered for the service.
There was a constantly moving line for entry into the fair for more than an hour after it opened.
Karen Blaiklock, who manages health and wellness promotion for the hospital, was pleased with the turnout and the chance to draw attention to health lessons during American Heart Month.
“We are extremely thrilled with the success,” she said. “This provided an opportunity for everyone to learn a little bit more about their personal health risk factors.”
The hospital’s role as a health care provider makes it important to stress the importance of area residents working with health care professionals and taking responsibility for their own health, Blaiklock said.
Nurse practitioner Vanessa Paddy gave information about the hospital’s diabetes management program.
She also talked about how steps such as weight loss, increasing physical activity and not smoking can help prevent diabetes in an area where the rate is so high.
Most questions Paddy received were from attendees with diabetes and those with prediabetes.
Being diagnosed with prediabetes can be an opportunity to improve health habits and avoid the disease, she said.
Robbins’ healthier lifestyle since the onset of diabetes means she was feeling better and seeing more positive health results than she had at the last health fair she attended.
The event also gave Robbins a chance to teach her granddaughters about the importance of health. They asked why a model of a pound of fat looked so different from a pound of muscle and other questions based on what they saw at the booths.
“It makes me feel good,” she said. “I talk to them about it because I’ve got diabetes. I was overweight for a long time and I know how it made me feel.
Adam and Lindsey Gordon of Hodgenville said maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in their home.
They visited the fair to take advantage of the free screenings and find out more about their health.
Adam Gordon said being educated about health is an important step toward staying on the right track.
“Health in your lifestyle makes you feel better, be able to enjoy your life more, be able to get out and do things that you wouldn’t be able to if you were less healthy,” he said.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.