WINGATE – Visitors to Wingate University’s Health and Wellness Fair will get an inside look at heart health this year, thanks to a giant inflatable heart exhibit.
The 13-foot-high MEGA Heart will allow visitors to step inside the heart, learn about cardiovascular functions, see examples of heart disease and check out displays of some of the latest medical treatments for cardiac problems.
Organizers of the university’s second annual health fair – set for Feb. 16 at the Union County Agricultural Center – say the MEGA Heart will complement services ranging from vision and hearing checks to medication counseling and take-back.
“Our heart is one of the most fascinating organs in the body. We can feel it pumping away, but most people don’t really understand what’s going on,” said Dr. Carolyn Ford, a pharmacy professor and director of community healthcare outreach. “Imagine the excitement and wonder of having a window inside the body that allows us to learn about the functioning of the heart and how to best take care of ourselves.”
Wingate’s health sciences students will host the fair’s Kidszone, where children will be able to trace their bodies, create healthy snacks and get advice on how to manage heavy backpacks without injury. Future physician assistants will perform oral health screenings for adults and children and will help Community Health Services of Union County educate participants about diabetes, hypertension and other issues. Students in Wingate’s doctor of physical therapy program will offer fall and balance screenings, diabetic foot screenings, posture and ergonomics checks and exercise advice. Nursing and pharmacy students will also man a variety of booths.
Visitors who register in advance will be able to take advantage of multiple screenings, including body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and diabetes risk. They can also sign up via links on the events tab of www.wingate.edu to donate blood or request dental services.
Free snacks, raffles and giveaways, and demonstrations of zumba and yoga will also be part of the fair, an event that Ford believes will influence hundreds of lives.
Exit surveys from last year’s health fair showed that 68 percent of respondents planned to make health-related changes as a result of the event. More than 35 percent said they learned about community resources they didn’t previously know about. And just over 1 in 10 planned to see a doctor as a result of information obtained that day.