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Valpo health fair stresses wellness, prevention

Brother sister BrandAmy Mattingly owners Roots Organic Juice Café Valparaiso poor smoothie juice samples Sunday during Healthy Family Day Valparaiso

Brother and sister Brandon and Amy Mattingly, owners of Roots Organic Juice Café in Valparaiso, poor smoothie and juice samples Sunday during Healthy Family Day at the Valparaiso Family YMCA. | POST-TRIBUNE

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For more information on programs at the Valparaiso Family YMCA, 1201 Cumberland Crossing Drive, Valparaiso, visit www.valpoymca.org or call 219-462-4185.

Updated: March 25, 2014 6:29AM



VALPARAISO — Kim Jacobs of Portage went to the second annual Family Health Day on Sunday with a friend of hers, because she’s concerned about his health.

They came last year, too, where the event’s free screenings revealed he had high blood pressure, among other issues that are risk factors for heart disease.

Jacobs, who waited for a free massage at the fair, held at the Valparaiso Family YMCA through a partnership with Methodist Hospitals, said her friend has switched to a healthier diet and started exercising since last year’s fair.

She got some information on varicose vein care as well and said she wanted to go to Methodist for its procedure.

“This is great,” she said. “It’s a way of saving your life. It’s been an eye-opener for both of us,” she said.

Organizers said the fair, which included a wide array of screenings, healthy cooking demonstrations, informational booths and an assortment of furry mascots, was expected to draw around 300 people. More than 100 people showed up in the morning for glucose and cholesterol blood tests.

“Obviously, Methodist is in the business of health and so is the YMCA,” said David Howe, relationship manager for the two facilities. A partnership outside the walls of a clinic or hospital, he said, can provide a new setting for preventive programs.

Preventive health is increasingly important to the Y on a local and national level, said Bob Wanek, the facility’s chief executive officer, and the screenings offered by Methodist at the health fair fit with that mission.

“This is a big part of who we are, the wellness aspect,” he said, adding the Y helps “the health seekers,” folks looking to improve their health, particularly Baby Boomers.

Barb Nowlin and her husband, Terry, fit into that niche. The Valparaiso couple stopped by the Y in the morning for the blood test, then came back for blood pressure, body mass index, and bone density screenings, among others.

“It’s a nice way to get a little checkup. So far, everything looks really good,” Barb Nowlin said, adding the couple started working out at the Y a few years ago and have seen their health tests improve. “It’s a nice thing to have for the community.”



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