Columbus organization helps the community make better choices

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Lavonne Harris and Carole Jackson were among the dozens of people who attended the Black Family Wellness Expo in Columbus on Saturday. The event brought together professionals in a variety of fields from finances to behavioral health to overall wellness. Harris and Jackson say the free health screenings were a draw for them.

“This one was good for me because I went through the bone density, and I found out that I need to start taking calcium,” said Harris.

“It is very important because preventative health measures, like this right here, give you an indication that something is brewing,” said Jackson. Now you must address that so it does not get worse, which could cause you next time you go to the doctor, to have high doctor bills. It could also be an issues that could cause long-term damage to your body.

Organizers wanted people who may not have access to affordable healthcare to have a place to get potentially life-saving screenings.

“We are providing free blood pressure and blood sugar checks,” said Nurse Practitioner Myra Kleis. We are also providing height and weight, cancer information, and bone density tests for women over 35.

Myra Kleis is a registered nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital. She said there was one goal in mind when creating this wellness check event

“To improve their quality of life, and hopefully the length of a life,” said Kleis. We try to do this as often as we are asked so that we can help more people.”

Ann White is a nurse practitioner, she sees the need for quality healthcare up close and personal every day.

“There is a need for healthcare in the community,” said White. We want our community to know that the Hospital Baptist Memorial is here for them. We like to collaborate and they get to meet some of the providers from the health care community, and that way they can feel more comfortable when they do come out.”

The expo also offered advice and tips to make better food choices.

“Fruits, vegetables, greens, dairy, and protein foods,” said MSU Extension Agen Stephanie Allsup. If people can try to have something from each food group, they will get the nutrients that they need, and their bodies will be healthier.”

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