IS THERE ANYTHING MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN YOUR HEALTH?
Are you interested in learning how to establish and maintain a lifestyle that will enhance your quality of life now and in the future? Would it be helpful for you to connect with local health care providers with the experience and expertise to guide you down the path to physical well-being?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you probably should put the Charleston Health & Wellness Expo on your calendar every year. Held Jan. 10 and Jan. 11, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, the two-day event drew around 4,000 visitors. They had the opportunity to interact with more than 100 vendors, including the Medical University of South Carolina, one of the corporate sponsors.
The Expo, which attracted around 3,000 visitors in 2017, is produced by the city of Charleston, the Cooper River Bridge Run and HealthLinks Charleston magazine.
“There are two main goals of the Expo,” said HealthLinks Publisher Cullen Murray-Kemp. “One is to connect those in need of health care options and physicians with the right medical and health practitioners. The second goal is to educate folks on the health and medical options in the Lowcountry.”
“The Expo was even bigger this year than last year. It makes a statement for Charleston, that it’s not only all about tourism, beauty and history but that we care about the health of our community,” Janis Newton, director of the MUSC Wellness Center, added.
According to Murray-Kemp, one of the main differences between the 2017 and 2018 Expos was the interactive aspect of the 2018 version. For example, a stage in the lobby of the Gaillard provided the venue for presentations throughout both days. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of health-related subjects, including weight management, fitness, communicating with your health provider, Kinesio taping and even cooking healthy meals.
MUSC had 10 booths at the Expo, and, at each one, you could learn something about your health, from your cholesterol to your percentage of body fat to how much muscle there is in your right arm versus your left arm, Newton pointed out. She said attendees who visited a certain number of MUSC booths were eligible for “some really nice prizes.”
“We’re building a culture of health and wellness within our city to promote improved health and prevention,” Newton said. “That’s important for every citizen of our community. At the Expo, everybody comes together, and we show each other what we have to offer to help people stay healthy and prevent disease.”
Health screenings available to attendees included those for blood pressure and stroke; body mass index and glucose; digestive, gastro and bariatric; sleep and anxiety; cancer; colonoscopies, Crohn’s disease; incontinence and esophageal; bone density and hearing – and more.
“The Expo opens it up to the community to get a health checkup,” said Julian Smith, director of the Cooper River Bridge Run. “It gives your business an opportunity to showcase to the community what you are offering.”
He pointed out that the interactive presentations plus an increase in the number of medical practitioners on hand helped the 2018 Expo draw larger crowds than the 2017 edition. Smith said several assisted living facilities brought residents to the event. He added that among the volunteers at the Expo were a group of Citadel cadets “who helped us get everything pulled off.”
“Our goal was to make the event as interactive as possible so consumers could actually benefit from it,” Murray-Kemp said. “It’s not just a bunch of vendors selling their products. It’s actual health education.”
“It’s progressive and innovative. We come together as a city under the theme of health and wellness in our community,” Newton added. “We do have some power over our health. The Expo gives people the education and information they need to help them stay healthy and prevent disease.”
In addition to MUSC, CharlestonPhysicians.com served as a corporate sponsor. Wellness sponsors included Coastal Patient Advocates, Daniel Pointe Retirement Community, Wellmore of Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant Magazine.