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Chamber Promotes A Healthy Lifestyle

Good health is based on a total package of good habits.

More than 200 citizens of all ages took advantage of Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce's first "Healthy Lifestyles EXPO" last Saturday at the Hollin Hall Senior Center. And it wasn't just about medical issues and exercise.

"The purpose of this new event is to promote good health practices throughout the community. This really helps the entire community. We want to reach out into the overall community as far as we can," said Chamber President Kahan S. Dhillon,Jr.

In addition to the 15 medical service businesses and six health exhibitors as well as services offered by Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, there were six restaurants offering healthy food choices. "Inclusion of the restaurants was meant to show people how they can make healthy choices when going out to eat," said Gale Curcio, UCM development officer, staffing the United Community Ministries display.

In order to accomplish that the Chamber worked with local nutritionist Hope S. Warshaw who has written several books on making healthy dining out choices. Two of those books, "What To Eat When You're Eating Out" and "Eat Out,Eat Right," were offered to attendees.

Warshaw worked with each restaurant, reviewing their menus, and recommending an emphasis on the healthier items, according to Curcio. "In some cases, it's all about portions. Even though Subway served cookies they were very small," she said.

"This EXPO is a way of responding to the correlation of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. All three are at record levels in this country," said Thomas M.Shaw, president, Outcome Communications, Inc., producer of the event.

"The EXPO is our way of responding to this increasing health problem on a local community outreach basis," he said. As part of that effort IMVH was conducting screening tests for cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure readings.

Other medical tests offered at the EXPO included stress testing by Dr. Dave Reynolds of Bodnar Chiropractic Center and a health assessment regarding body weight by the Mount Vernon Athletic

Alexandria Medical Arts Pharmacy was providing flu shots to all

attendees who had not as yet received this year's inoculation.

With an aging population, one of the primary health considerations is the caring for those who become incapacitated. To answer those question were representative from Capital Hospice located in Falls Church.

"We offer services depending on what is best for the family involved. And, it should be emphasized that these service are not just for terminally ill patients," said Nancy Briggs, Capital Hospice volunteer.

There were also displays and representatives from Paul Spring Retirement Community, Weichert Realtors, New York Life Insurance Company, Genworth Financial, and Alliance/Mid West National Life. Health plans for small businesses covered everything from dental to disability.

Complementing the medical side of the EXPO was the wellness/fitness side. Throughout the four hour event there were session on exercise cycles, jazzercise, and yoga. Attendees could even indulge themselves with a massage therapy.

"Lifestyles in eating sensibly and engaging in physical activity is what we are trying to convey with this EXPO," said Shaw.