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Success at the second annual diabetes health fair

By Monique Peloquin
Posted Monday, October 31, 2005

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Siler City, NC - Building on the success from the Spanish/English diabetes health fair held last year, Chatham Hospital and the Chatham County Public Health Department teamed up once again to hold a second annual fair on October 8th in Siler City.

For the second year in a row, the health fair offered blood sugar and blood pressure screenings, diabetes information, door prizes and giveaways, seminars, healthy food and opportunities to talk to diabetes specialists and local agencies. Services were provided to participants at no cost.

The purpose of the fair was to provide information and resources to people with diabetes and raise awareness of the incidence of diabetes in Chatham County. Over 18 million people across the United States are affected by diabetes which includes more than 3600 in Chatham County alone, many of whom do not know it.

New at this year’s fair was the ask-the-doctor feature. Dr. Margaret Kiser from UNC was on hand to answer questions on hypertension and kidney disease. Many took the opportunity to ask the doctor questions one-on-one about diabetes related complications.

The highlight of the health fair was the speaking sessions. Doris Welborn, RD, LDN, CDE of Chatham Hospital talked to participants about nutrition and portion sizes. Barbara Bateman from the Council on Aging talked with participants on the importance and appropriate amount of physical activity everyday. She focused on the importance of flexibility, strength, and balance while demonstrating with colorful exercise balls.

Marissa Jelks, health educator with the Chatham County Public Health Department stated that they “feel that everyone that came got a lot of good information out of this and really enjoyed themselves. After working with the hospital on this for the past two years, we can continue to make it better.”

Thirty-five people were screened for blood sugar results and several were found to have elevated blood sugar levels. The Chatham Hospital Diabetes Program will follow-up with each of these individuals to make sure they have the appropriate resources and follow-up care. Deanna Edmisten, diabetes nurse educator at Chatham Hospital said that, "Even if we only identify one person who may have diabetes, then the health fair was a success. We can then help them to become and stay healthy."

Chatham Hospital and the Chatham County Public Health Department are looking forward to hosting the third annual diabetes health fair next year. For questions on diabetes or diabetes resources, please contact Marissa Jelks at 542-8297 or Doris Welborn at 742-5641.

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