News Column

Hispanic Wellness Fair Has Good Turnout

August 3, 2013

Sarah Bahari

At school, Tanya Lorenzana struggles to see lessons from a distance.

So Lorenzana and her mother, Alba Lopez, attended the Hispanic Wellness Fair on Saturday at Will Rogers Coliseum to have her vision tested for free and maybe even receive a pair of eyeglasses.

"I can see things that are close, but I can't see very well far away," said Lorenzana, 12, a student at the Young Women's Leadership Academy in Fort Worth. "I guess I probably need glasses, but we'll see."

Lorenzana was among the nearly 5,000 people who attended the annual fair, which is in its 15th year. Services included back-to-school immunizations; screenings for diabetes, cancer and cholesterol; vision and hearing tests; blood pressure checks; and dental exams.

Gloria Martinez, executive director of the Hispanic Wellness Coalition, said the all-day fair seeks to reach people who have limited access to healthcare due to lack of insurance or transportation, little education, language barriers, low income and other factors.

About one-quarter of Tarrant County residents lack health insurance, according to the county's Public Health Department. Of those, the coalition says, about half are Hispanic.

Hispanics struggle with high rates of diabetes and high cholesterol, which are preventable, Martinez said.

"We need more education, more screening, more services," she said. "That is how we will improve our health."

Patients such as Lopez, who attended the fair for the first time, said having all of the services in one place was helpful. While her daughter waited in line for a vision test, Lopez got a mammogram.

Participants watched healthy cooking demonstrations and danced to Zumba classes, received spinal adjustments and body fat evaluations and got lessons on everything from car-seat safety to kidney health.

Juan Tovar attended the fair to have his cholesterol checked, but his children, Jaden, 8 and Dyan, 6, could not resist stopping by the Fit Worth booth to hula hoop. Fit Worth is the city's health initiative that promotes physical activity and proper nutrition.

"We are grateful," Tovar said. "There is something here for all of us."

Tovar's cholesterol checked showed good results. He said he hopes to return next year to keep tabs on his health.

Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056 Twitter: @sarahbfw


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Source: Copyright Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) 2013

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