Natchez Fall Health Fair set for Nov. 4

Published 1:50 am Saturday, October 28, 2017


NATCHEZ — Participants in the Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention Program will be recognized at this year’s Natchez Fall Health Fair on Nov. 4.

The fair will include health screenings, a 5k walk and door prizes.

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Participants in the Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention Program have since May been attending weekly classes which teach healthy eating and exercise habits.

Program Director Getty Israel said the program started with 134 completed applications but has dwindled to 50 participants.

At the fall health fair, participants who stuck with the program will receive certificates for significant weight loss and blood pressure reduction.

“It is to encourage and recognize those who are doing well,” Israel said. “This isn’t just for the participants, we are encouraging them to bring colleagues, neighbors. This is the last opportunity to have an event like this, because winter is coming.”

The health fair begins with registration at 9 a.m. Nov. 4 followed by a short seminar on breathing techniques for lowering blood pressure.

Mayor Darryl Grennell will lead a 5k walk on the Natchez Bluff at 11 a.m. and program administrators will hand out five door prizes at 12:30.

“It’s just going to be a fun field event to celebrate the folks who have made it this far,” Israel said.

Another celebration will mark the end of the program, Israel said.

Israel said this program is particularly beneficial for men and women who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease, among other issues, but have trouble sticking to a weight loss plan.

“At the gym, you don’t get this,” she said. “You’re just on a piece of equipment and maybe you know how to use it and maybe you don’t. This (program) comes with a dynamic education and support.”

The program has in the past been funded by Humana, but Israel said that funding may run out soon.

“Humana is the best partner any city could hope for,” she said. “But at some point, grants come to an end. At some point, in order to make this self-sustaining, I suggested that we create a nonprofit and continue to offer this program.”

Israel said participants and program staff are in the process of creating a nonprofit organization to carry on the initiative after the grant ends.

Israel said she would like the new program to be significantly shorter than the current one-year duration.

“Here’s what I know: Even though they need the support and discipline and group, what I realize is the staying power seems to end after about 3 months,” Israel said.  “I’m thinking it may be wise to modify this program.”

Like the participants learning healthy habits, Israel said these changes will help the program become self-sustained and continue to help the men and women of Natchez.