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Feb 28 2012

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Dancing for the heart

Good Shepherd Medical Center (GSMC) recently hosted one of the biggest health fairs in the region.  It was dubbed “A Fair of the Heart,” and local residents availed themselves of various free health screenings with values up to $100. The screenings included height/weight, complete lipid profile, glucose testing, blood pressure and body fat.
Attendees also received valuable health information and learned more about GSMC’s assorted health offerings.  For example, the GSMC Institute for Healthy Living demonstrated various age-appropriate exercises because a healthy lifestyle may be the best medicine.
Local resident Nick Priego was on hand and gave the East Texas Review testimony about the Diabetes Education he has received from Gayle McFarland, RN, CDE.
Priego says he feels like a millionaire because his diabetes is now under control.  McFarland has been teaching him how to modify his behavior.
He now eats more vegetables, uses Splenda instead of white sugar, and walks for exercise.  He also credited his doctor, Larry Hoffman, MD., for helping him whenever he needed medical advice.
McFarland was pleased to hear one of his patients spreading the word about diabetes education.  “Nick Priego has worked hard and made several lifestyle changes to his diet and exercise,” said McFarland. “And now he goes out sharing that information because he likes what he sees and wants other people to have that information also.”
One of the greatest attractions of “A Fair of the Heart” is entertainment, healthy snacks, fun giveaways and so much more. Champion EMS, the Longview Fire Department and others have interesting demonstrations to keep families healthfully busy.  Dancing predominated.
Dancers ranged from age 11 months to middle 70s.  The famous and perennial House of Tots youngsters typically stole the show.  They worked hard and put on a spectacular performance.  According to Melodee Huey, instructor and creative director, belly dancing is not a spectator sport, so after they (who?) performed the audience joined in and danced for heart health.  The Cloggers clogged away with their youngest clogger, Connor Hall, aged 11 months.  There were the Broughton Line Dancers and many others.  Clogging is a family tradition for Connor. His mother Tiffany started when she was three because her parents were square dancers. “Clogging is very good for the heart,” said Hall, an avid clogger.
Alia and Celedria Gates in 11th and 12th grades came to watch the dancers and were quite impressed. “We are having fun watching all these dances,” said Alia.
“This is about involving the community and educating them about their health,” concluded Gina Terry, a registered nurse and assistant director of community outreach with GSMC.

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