The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Minority Health Month kicks off with fair

Tabi Jozwick

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The Department of Health Services and Social Work educates people on minority health by hosting a Health Fair last Tuesday in the University Union’s Grand Ballroom.

“The health fair was a kickoff for Minority Health Month 2017, which we recognize every year during the month of April at Western Illinois University as well as nationally recognized across the country,” said Lorette Oden, health services and social work chair and health fair organizer. “This was just a kickoff event to educate people on health issues or health concerns that they may have.”

Oden said that the health fair focused on educating people on the various health issues as well as providing them free screenings for blood typing from Mississippi Regional Blood Center, blood glucose from Bella Hearst Diabetes Institute (BHDI), blood pressure and grip strength from McDonough District Hospital.

“Minority Health Month really addressed the different diverse populations that we have here in the United States,” Oden said. “For the different populations, we have different health issues that tend to surface more often than others, so we really want to make students and the community are aware of some of those concerns that they may have.”

Dietetics major Taylor Landes said diabetes is one of those health issues that the diverse populations have seen in an increase during the past several years.

“If you do have diabetes, BHDI were the people that you come in contact with in addition to the Beu Health Center just to get your nutrition and blood glucose in line,” Landes said.

Dietetics major Emily Myers explained the difference between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2.

“Type 1 was an autoimmune disease, where your body was attacking itself and that’s why your pancreas wasn’t working,” Myers said. “That’s most frequent with people with a lower body mass and it starts with children. Type 2 was where you wore out your insulin receptor or you had too much body fat tissue where insulin could not get into the receptors.”

Landes and Myers shared several misconceptions that people had about diabetes like the various tricks that people claimed that would lower blood sugar such as drinking coconut water.

“The only way to control your blood sugar is diet, exercise and eating properly,” Myers said.

“And watching carbs,” Landes added. “People need to know that carbs are sugars.”

Other resources offered at Western that promoted health and safety included Veterans Resource Center, University Counseling Center, Student TALK, Alcohol and Other Drug Resource Center, Beu Health Center and Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.

In the Macomb community, resources available include McDonough County Health Department, La Leche League of Macomb, McDonough District Hospital and University of Illinois Extension.

“We want to bring attention to the health issues and let people know what resources are available to help them or to answer any questions that they may have on the different health issues,” Oden said.

Oden said that during the different Minority Health Month events, people could bring nonperishable foods to donate for Loaves and Fishes.

“The food drive was really important because even though we live in a community surrounded by farms, there was still food insecurity in this area,” Oden said. “We are aware of households that perhaps need some assistance at some point during the month or additional food items, so we really want to make food available to those organizations that may help or assist families or children.”

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Minority Health Month kicks off with fair