Health Fair kicks off to make wellness priority, director says

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    Today’s first-ever TCU Health Fair is a way for students, faculty, staff and community members to become healthier, more informed individuals, said the assistant dean of campus life for health promotion.Research shows healthier students have higher grades and a better overall experience at college, said Laura Crawley, assistant dean of campus life for health promotion.

    “It’s better by far to prevent illness than to have it treated,” she said.

    By offering a place to talk to experts face-to-face about their health concerns and questions, Crawley said she hopes talking about important issues will not be so intimidating.

    “Not all students want to sit down in front of a doctor and ask questions,” she said. “This gives them an opportunity to learn about health and wellness without having to ask questions they may not be ready to voice.”

    Steve Kintigh, director of campus recreation, said the Health Fair is a way to maintain momentum from last semester’s faculty and staff pedometer challenge.

    Campus Recreation provided free pedometers for the more than 80 percent of faculty and staff who participated. Overall, participants walked more than 260,000 miles during the 10-week challenge.

    “This is just an example of what we want to offer the TCU community,” Kintigh said.

    In an effort to make health and wellness a priority, he said he hopes to make the pedometer challenge an annual event in the spring and to host the Health Fair every fall semester.

    “We want this event to be a cornerstone of a broader wellness program at TCU,” he said. “We want people to get more intentional about their health.”

    Consuelo Jimenez, a junior special education major, said students aren’t thinking enough about how their actions, and habits they develop now will affect them later in life.

    “Students need information about how we can stay healthy,” she said. “Prevention is really important.”

    Learning about prevention techniques and how to be a healthier campus has become a priority for TCU administration, Crawley said.

    “Student Affairs has begun to prioritize health for our students,” she said.

    Campus Recreation and the Department of Campus Life for health promotion is working on a grant request to present to the university for increased and continuing support, she said.

    “All health is public health, so providing different venues, whether individual appointments, health flyers or larger scale events, will reach someone that might not be reached another way,” Crawley said.

    Aaron Lobaugh, a freshman premajor, said she thinks nutrition is the hardest thing for most students to manage.

    As a University Recreation Center employee, he said he sees students exercising but said he thinks students need to know how to be healthy individuals, too.

    “The health of students and staff at the university is something we should be focused on,” he said. “I think that the Health Fair is definitely going to help.”

    About 40 vendors will be present at the Health Fair, from the American Cancer Society to the TCU Drug and Alcohol Education department to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    Representatives of Fort Worth nutritional and health organizations, as well as TCU nursing and counseling departments will also be present to answer questions, give information and administer free health screenings, cholesterol and body composition tests and depression screenings.

    Kintigh said the Health Fair was designed as a way to help students gain knowledge about prevention and health and wellness, while offering a way to develop relations in the community through interaction between vendors and community members.

    “We want our students to know what’s available to them,” he said. “We are hoping to give students the opportunity to get into contact with the resources they’re being offered at TCU.”

    Free flu shots will be provided by Maxim Health Services to the first 400 faculty, staff and community members who arrive at the Health Fair and later will be administered for $25.

    Students can receive a flu shot for $14 at the TCU Health Center.