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Hall Chamber of Commerce expo to promote healthy living

POSTED: October 7, 2013 12:34 a.m.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 7th annual HealthSmart interactive health and wellness expo on Wednesday.

The event, which will take place at the Gainesville Civic Center, is designed to promote healthy living by raising awareness of the local health services that are available and to provide the public with free health screenings.

“Health care and wellness play such a big part in our lives,” chamber President Kit Dunlap said. “We started this to try to, particularly, call awareness to the services that are available in Gainesville and Hall County.

“Not just the hospitals but smaller businesses as well.”

Almost 50 area companies will be manning 54 booths to provide health information, healthy snacks and free health screenings. The Longstreet Clinic will be providing glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index screenings while other companies will be offering sleep assessments and asthma, hearing, vision, posture and vascular screenings.

In addition, awards will be handed out to the “most fit companies” in Gainesville and Hall County. The companies are evaluated based on employee wellness and nutrition and fitness opportunities the company has provided for employees. Awards are divided between small, medium and large businesses. Last year’s winners were Ace Hardware, Baldour Electric and Aqua-Terra Recycling & Treatment.

“We’ve found that since we started this program, more and more businesses are having some kind of wellness program,” Dunlap said. “It helps attendance, insurance and the company’s bottom line.”

HealthSmart is part of the chamber’s Vision 2030 initiative, which outlines long-term goals the city and county would like to realize by 2030. In 2006, the chamber created HealthSmart to help fulfill its goal of improving public wellness and health care access.

“The goal is to show the array of services that are available in the community and to offer the free screenings,” Dunlap said. “Last year we did over 300 screenings and hopefully we can do more this year.”

The event will begin with a “kickoff breakfast” that will feature healthy foods provided by Oakwood Occasions and a presentation by the Hall County “Think About It” coalition, a program by the Medical Association of Georgia that speaks out about the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

The coalition advocates implementing a statewide drug-monitoring system, encouraging safe drug disposal and educating the public and professionals about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how to prevent it.

McDonald’s will be providing healthy snacks, such as parfaits and applesauce, throughout the event and will give free salads to the first 100 participants who receive health screenings. Papa John’s Pizza will be providing “healthy pizzas” for lunch.

HealthSmart starts at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday and ends at 1:30 p.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center at 830 Green St. NE.

The breakfast is $10 for chamber members and $15 for others, but the expo is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 770-532-6206 or visit www.greaterhallchamber.com.


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