Heart Healthy Wellness Expo invites visitors to tour inflatable heart
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — It is common knowledge that walking is good for the heart.
But a more unusual idea is taking a walk “through” a heart.
Those who attend the Heart Healthy Wellness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Chambersburg Area Middle School North in Chambersburg will have an opportunity to do just that.
Jeannie Constable, strategic communications coordinator for Summit Health, said the medical facility traditionally hosts a heart-health event in February to celebrate American Heart Month.
“It's usually on a weeknight. A cardiologist chooses a topic and it's been more like a lecture," Constable said. "We've done it at Wilson College. People would sit down in an auditorium and learn about risk factors, receive information about preventing heart disease, and we'd offer free resources, educational materials, blood-pressure screening."
Roughly 80 community members typically attend the lectures, most of them senior adults, she said.
A 2015 Franklin County (Pa.) Community Health Needs Assessment by Summit Health, Healthy Franklin County and Franklin & Marshall College Center for Opinion Research revealed that risk factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, unsatisfactory blood pressure and obesity were “very high among young people,” Constable said.
“We surveyed residents and gathered health statistics in the area," she said. "As we looked through the data, we discovered that our heart event might even better serve families with young people, to help prevent these types of conditions and to provide education that should start in childhood rather than people establishing years of bad habits. We decided to create a platform that was fun, interactive and informative.”
Organizers came across Medical Inflatables Exhibits Inc., a Houston-based company that provides walk-through educational models and has been featured on “The Dr. Oz Show” and in The Wall Street Journal, Constable said. The main draw at the expo will be Medical Inflatables' 13-foot-tall, 15-foot-wide, 26-foot-long blow-up model of the human heart.
“We are at a time in our county when heart disease remains the number-one killer of American men and women. Our community health care leaders need to offer extra awareness and education,” Constable said. “In the dead of winter, when there is not really much to do, we wanted to draw on a family demonstration that is still welcome to people of all ages.”
Traditional participants in the heart-health event, which is sponsored by Herald-Mail Media and Summit Health, will still find “just as much information” as they have in past years, she said. A representative from Medical Inflatables will be on hand to walk people through the exhibit as they learn about symptoms of heart disease and see what a healthy heart, instead of a diseased one, actually looks like.
“We will have different tours for different age groups. Children might be shown certain things that excite them and they can understand,” Constable said. “For adults, we will have different educational components, different material to accompany it.”
There also will be cardiologists from Summit Health standing by to answer questions and provide information. In addition, there will be blood-pressure screenings, vendors from community groups, fitness and cooking demonstrations, and information about diabetes, which also is a risk factor for heart disease, Constable said.
“There will be a lot of useful information, recipes for good ways of cooking, family exercise that is not necessarily going to the gym, but taking a walk after dinner or throwing a ball in the yard,” she said. “We need to educate our younger generation to think about this before it is too late.”