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State Representatives Preach Prevention at Weiss

“Today epitomizes where healthcare is going,” says Weiss CEO Frank Molinaro, standing before a crowd of a few dozen people. “Today is about our commitment to health and our communities. Today is about solutions.”

Molinaro addresses the crowd in the Medical Office Building lobby, where Weiss is hosting a senior health fair. To his left stand the fair’s organizers: State Senator John Cullerton and State Representative Sara Feigenholtz.

“I am so grateful for this amazing day where people can access care from all over Chicago,” Rep. Feigenholtz says.

Weiss staff and government officials attend the senior fair at Weiss.

Pictured on right: Weiss staff and government officials attend the senior fair at Weiss.

Some 40 booths fill the atrium space, including the Vet Net, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Home Health Illinois, the Cook County Sheriffs Office, Asian Human Services and the Illinois Department on Aging. They are offering assisted living information, health consultations and more. In one corner, technicians provide free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings; in another, a pharmacist and physician hold one-on-one consultations.

State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and fair attendee.

Pictured on left: State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and fair attendee.

This fair ties in to Weiss’ commitment to encourage people to take preventative action for their own health.  A key to the prevention puzzle is the six pillars of Health for Life:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)—an estimate of your body fat calculated by measuring your height and weight. Sleep can affect your weight loss or gain. A well-rested body can digest food and process activity more easily.
  • Blood Glucose—signals how well your body processes carbohydrates. High levels of blood glucose indicate diabetes, while low levels could mean hypoglycemia. Some studies show that eating cinnamon or drinking black tea can help maintain healthy glucose levels. To monitor your blood sugar, ask your doctor for a glucose test, and if you are diabetic, test yourself regularly at home.
  • Blood Pressure—the amount of force of the blood flowing through its vessels places on those vessels. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage the heart, blood vessels and kidneys. To lower your blood pressure, cut back on smoking and salt. Recent studies show that eating celery can help lower blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol—a fat-like substance found in cells and blood. Cholesterol occurs naturally in the human body as well as by eating certain foods. Too much cholesterol can damage blood vessels and the heart, and lead to heart attack or stroke. Keep your cholesterol in check by eating more fiber (often found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes).
  • Exercise—benefits the body and mind. Thirty minutes a day of walking, riding your bike or playing team sports can reduce the risk of heart disease and help you maintain a healthy body weight. Even small changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking at the far end of the lot, can make a difference.
  • Eat Right—what you eat will affect all of the other factors listed above. Focus on fruits, vegetables and lean proteins; cut out foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Watch your portions, and keep healthy snacks around like nuts, dried fruit, yogurt and baby carrots.

Mr. Julius Jackson and State Senator John CullertonAmong the fair attendees looking for health tips was Julius Jackson, a lieutenant colonel with the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II. He walked from booth to booth, collecting information. “This has been very good. It’s about prevention,” he says of the fair. “I like learning from people.”

Senator Cullerton reflected that sentiment. “Prevention, prevention, prevention!” he stresses to the crowd.

Pictured above: Mr. Julius Jackson and State Senator John Cullerton.

To learn more about the representatives’ takes on the health issues in our community, visit their websites at http://www.senatorcullerton.com/ and http://www.staterepsara.com/index.php.

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