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College of the Canyons hosts health fair

Health: Third annual event at COC offers visitors a chance to learn techniques

Posted: February 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Wellness Expo vendors and visitors line the cafeteria floor at College of the Canyons on Saturday.

 

How are you feeling?

Close to 70 participants manning booths at the 2011 third annual Chamber of Commerce Health & Wellness Fair at College of the Canyons had an answer for that question Saturday.

Visitors could test everything health-related from their balance to the adequacy of their medical coverage — the name of the wellness game was to make sure they were on the path to good health.

Hundreds squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder between tables displaying pastel-colored plastic sections of a tendon and ligament, dangling columns of spinal cords and rows of idle false teeth.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors loaded up on medical pamphlets, promotional pens and fridge magnets, but capitalized most on the health expertise invited to the fair by title sponsor Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

For Carolyn Gordon, a physical therapist who heads the hospital’s balance-testing program, good health means a solid equilibrium.

Visitors stopping at her balance-testing booth Saturday were invited to stand on a wobbly air cushion hooked up to a computer that monitored how well you kept your balance as the cushion bubbled underfoot.

“This gives information on people’s body awareness, and to assess any balance deficits you may have,” she said.

Why is balance important to health?

“Fall risks,” she said. “Simple things like walking up and down a ramp, around obstacles — if someone were to bump into them, they might end up on the floor.”

Worst-case scenario, the computer printout of an extremely shaky time on the balance machine could be signs of serious disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke, Gordon said.

An aisle over from her balance booth, stood a man in a karate uniform.

“Self-defense is more just than punching and kicking,” said karate instructor Rich Dolan, who runs Ultimate Self Defense Studios on McBean Parkway at Granary Square. “There’s both physical wellness and mental wellness.

“There’s the confidence and the flexibility, the self-control that comes with being able to defend yourself,” he said.
Terry Lynn Bucknall, director of the hospital’s Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center, answered questions about the importance of mammogram testing.

“In our center, half the women we diagnose are under the age of 50,” she said.

Free screenings offered at the fair included those for cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, bone density and hearing.

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