AMHERST – How well you know your numbers could be the difference between a healthy lifestyle and a life of chronic illness.
Cumberland County’s community health boards are joining forces with Public Health and the Cumberland YMCA to host a Numbers To Know clinic on Friday at the YMCA from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event is being held in conjunction with Amherst’s 24-Hour Physical Activity Day on Saturday.
“When people come to the YMCA they’ll be able to have their blood glucose and cholesterol checked along with their blood pressure,” Colleen Dowe of Public Health said. “Participants will also be able to sit down with a nurse practitioner and talk about their numbers and what they can do to improve them.”
Participants can also get a three-month average of their blood glucose, while they can also have their body mass index checked along with their waist circumference if they desire.
Those who take part in the session will also get a pamphlet explaining the numbers from head to toe as well as a wallet card they use to chart their numbers and show to their physician.
“The pamphlet and wallet card have a lot of information on what you should be screening for and what the target numbers are as well as how often you should get screened,” Dowe said.
There will also be representatives from the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Walkabout program as well as the CHA’s Your Way to Wellness program and the senior’s health centre.
Last year, the clinic was held at the Amherst Centre Mall with more than 60 people getting screened. Organizers chose to move the screening clinic to the YMCA to coincide with physical activity day and perhaps encourage participants to consider adopting a more active lifestyle that includes a healthier diet and physical fitness.
“This year we have extra machines so we’re hoping to move people through more quicker,” she said. “Last year we had a lot more people than we thought we were going to get. This year we’re much more prepared to have more people.”
Darla MacPherson, the vice-president of community health for the Cumberland Health Authority, said knowing your numbers could be the difference between life and death in some people.
“It’s important to know your numbers so they can advocate for their own health,” MacPherson said. “They don’t have to depend on whether they saw this physician or this nurse practitioner. They should know what their numbers should be, they shouldn’t be reliant on their doctor to tell them their numbers are good.”
From knowing their numbers, MacPherson said the hope is participants will decide on what to do to improve them, whether it be becoming more physically active, eating healthier and going to their doctor.
“It’s a cue to have a number that says I have to address this so that I can become healthier by quitting smoking, or losing some weight or getting some exercise,” MacPherson said.
Alex Theroux, the chairwoman of the SOAR Community Health Board that serves the Springhill, Oxford and Amherst areas.
“We want to promote healthy lifestyles. That’s the reason behind the health boards is to make the communities we live in healthier,” Theroux said. “This is one way we can promote preventing chronic illnesses