Tulane PRC core project health fair draws community into world of wellness

With music playing and children testing their hula hoop skills, Delores Price walked from table to table at the Movin’ for LIFE 9th Ward Family Health Fair at St. Mary of the Angels Church Gym on Saturday afternoon.

The New Salem Baptist Church member saw a flier at her church advertising the health fair and gathered other members to learn more about healthful eating, to sample flavorful healthy foods and engage in activity courses.

“This is just wonderful,” she said. “It’s important to learn about healthy lifestyles, and I think it’s a great service to provide to the community. A lot of times people don’t have this important information, so this can help a lot of people start a healthy lifestyle.”

That’s exactly the response the Tulane Prevention Research Center was hoping to create. The event, which drew about 200 people, is just a part of the PRC’s five-year Movin’ for LIFE program, which serves the Upper and Lower 9th Ward.

“We’re really hoping that this is a tool to jump start healthy behaviors in the neighborhood,” said Naomi King Englar, Communications and Dissemination Coordinator for the PRC. “The upper and lower 9th Ward have a lot of great things going on, so we want to promote and enhance that. We just want to be an amplifier for all these great things happening in the community. We couldn’t have done this without the support of the community, so they deserve the credit.”

The Movin’ for LIFE program – which stands for “Lasting Improvements for Fitness and Energy” – uses a variety of strategies to encourage active and healthy lifestyles, such as cooking classes, community walks, dance classes, coalition meetings, and promotion of existing resources in the 9th Ward. Saturday’s event showed off more than a dozen of the group’s partners.

Royliene Johnson, Community Service Director at Caffin Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church, helped run an information table about the importance of proper hydration, especially drinking water.

“This is just an opportunity for our folks to do some basic blood pressure and sugar checks to let people know where they are with their health,” Director of Community Outreach Jeremy Simmons said. “Then, we’re able to guide them in the right direction to get the care that they deserve. This is definitely one of the larger events, so it’s exciting to see so many resources under one roof.”

Another resource highlighted at the fair was the Good 2 Go Project, which assists New Orleans corner stores to increase the amount of fresh, healthy food they offer. The program is a group effort with Propeller, the City of New Orleans, The Food Trust, Liberty’s Kitchen and Top Box Foods.

Currently five corner stores in the city including the Lower 9th Ward Market on N. Galvez Street participate in the two-month-old program.

“The produce is just flying off the shelves,” Kristine Creveling, Food Program Manager at Propeller, said. “The demand is there, so now we’re just making sure the community knows the resources are there. We started with fruits and veggies, and now we’re going to move into healthier inventory items as the program moves forward. Today has been awesome because you see so many different faces from the community.”

The PRC community outreach will continue in September as the Movin’ for LIFE 9th Ward 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 9. The free event will start and finish at Oliver Bush Playground and Park at 2500 Caffin Ave. The Treme Brass Band will kick off race day festivities. Music, food and drinks will be available after the race. Participants registering with two to three generations from their family will get special awards, and all registered participants will get T-shirts.

By Joseph Halm, Nola.com/The Times-Picayune
(Photos by Stewart Johnson, On-Location Photography)

To read the full story on Nola.com, click here.

Topics:   community health , obesity , nutrition , diet , physical activity

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