Contact: Thomas Hottman
As people made their way through Sky Lakes Medical Center’s Living Well Community Health Fair on Saturday, they were eager to sign up for free health screenings, learn about healthy habits and clean eating and stock up on an abundance of healthy giveaways.
Over 2,500 people attended the nineteenth-annual admission free event at the Klamath County Fairgrounds, which catered to people of all ages and ailments, in the hope of creating a healthy community and encouraging people to make better health choices, Sky Lake Public Information Officer Tom Hottman said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to learn about their own health with specific data and the facilities in the community with Sky Lakes,” he said. “All of the displays have a healthy energy and there is nothing punitive, it’s all helpful.”
Wandering through the exhibit hall, guests made numerous pit stops during the course of the six-hour event. Respiratory students from Oregon Tech led a series of lung function tests, asking people to blow into handheld spirometry devices, which measure lung capacity, and compared the results against expected averages.
Cascade Health Alliance employees encouraged patrons to grab a plant pot filled with soil and plant a seed of their choosing, including, parsley, basil and thyme. Taking a hands on approach, Kelli Tompkins, with CHA, said her mission is to educate people on how to live a sustainable, healthy and cheap lifestyle at home.
“We’re trying to encourage healthy eating habits and for people to get outside by planting a garden and working together as a family,” she said. “Also, by eating at home you can affect portion sizes and cholesterol and blood pressure and things like that.”
A skin screening booth run by the Sky Lakes Cancer Treatment Center examined people’s faces for signs of skin cancer. Placing their heads inside a box with ultraviolet lights, the physician was able to see any problem areas. The team provided SPF 30 sunscreen and referred those with worrying skin issues to their local physician.
On the other side of the room, Margie Lukens made herself comfortable at the blood lab run by nursing students from Oregon Health and Science University to check her cholesterol and glucose levels.
“I come every year just to keep track of myself,” she said, “I have high cholesterol and get tested here before going to my doctor.”
Visitors also got physical at the Rehabilitative Services booth, competing with one another to see who could remain in a plank position for the longest time. By early-afternoon, Air Link Base Manager Deidre Heinrich, 56, was the running champion with a time of 4:31.
After snacking on the healthy treats in the main exhibit, the kids retreated to the Kid Zone across the hallway, filled with games, physical exercises and educational booths intended to challenge the youngsters and entice them to lead a physically active lifestyle, whether that be walking to school with the Blue Zones Project Walking School Bus initiative or opting for the outdoors instead of playing video games.
Representatives at the Food Hero booth taught the kids about wheat, its uses and how to turn heads of grain into whole grain wheat flour, providing two options: grinding it by hand or riding the “fender blender” bicycle, generating power inside a blender attached to the front of the bike — the most popular option.
Over the years, the fair has grown in size and become more of a fun interactive event that includes an educational aspect, Hottman said. For more information about Sky Lakes’ facilities and programs, go to www.skylakes.org.