Lifestyle Check at the Alaska State Fair

November 01, 2010 | Ephraim Palmero

The Alaska State Fair, home of record-setting giant vegetables and beautiful flower gardens, is nestled in the heart of the Chugach Mountains in the fertile Matanuska-Susitna Valley just an hour's drive north of Anchorage. Each fall, the fair provides a setting for the last blast of summer and a showcase of Alaska's uniqueness and beauty.

Adventist churches in Alaska have been participating in the statewide Alaska Fair for the past three years and offer solutions along with powerful tools to motivate community members to begin living healthier lives. This was finally realized through the partnership with Health Education Resources of Dunlap, Tenn.

The HER Health Expo provides a perfect way to meet the public in an open-ended health screening program. A complete set of sixteen well-designed banners provide a graphic backdrop to a health-age screening station, with banners encouraging individuals to adopt good health practices. The interactive screening stations reinforce these principles and prepare the way for the health counselors, who meet with each participant at the end of the screening activities, encouraging them to make lifestyle changes and offering various follow-up health seminars. The Health Expo also provides opportunities for the Palmer and Anchorage Hillside O'Malley churches to promote community health programs. Health literature from Vibrant Life, Adventist Book Center and Amazing Health was made available free to all fair visitors.

"We were surprised with the record number of visitors to the substance abuse station," says Jacqi Shull, a Health Expo volunteer. "Many young kids were very interested to know about the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

The Alaska women's ministries, headed by Jean-Francis Gobah, also spearheaded advocacy for End It Now (Adventists Say No to Violence Against Women) by collecting hundreds of signatures for the campaign for United Nations sponsorship of the initiative.

The Health Expo booth was an initiative of the health ministries department of the Alaska Conference and Adventist Community Services of Alaska.