18th Annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo

This past weekend was the 18TH annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital. I was honored to be asked to help work the American Heart Association booth at the health expo for my second consecutive year.

I also got to meet Lauren Celine, Miss Teen China International 2011, who has her platform, the American Heart Association’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation, in common with me, also joined me in volunteering to work the AHA booth, along with Miss Teen DC International 2010, Alexis Harvey.

The expo was held from 9am-5pm on both Saturday and Sunday and kicked off the largest free consumer health event. As the event began to wind down, we had a chance to visit some of the other booths, though with close to 200 exhibitors present, we definitely did not get to see them all. There were samples of health foods like some oatmeal raisin protein bars which I had a chance to try; they were like guilt-free oatmeal cookies! We saw martial arts demonstrations, got to try “healthy energy drinks”, got free 5 hour energy samples to take home with us, learned about the cancer screenings that had been offered there that day, and so much more!

One of the main goals of the event was to provide the numerous people who do not have health insurance and cannot afford to see a doctor regularly with check-ups, screenings, and information for health conditions and factors such as cancer, BMI, blood pressure, bone density, cholesterol, and much more, as well as the opportunity to speak with health professionals and ask them questions that might have gone unanswered otherwise. With over 87,000 attendees in two days, I would say that it was a huge success!

Lauren, Alexis, and I worked outside the AHA booth, asking passersby if they would like more information about our nation’s #1 killer, heart disease, and getting them to volunteer their contact info for a chance to spin the “prize wheel” and take home prizes including heart healthy recipe books, AHA tote bags, luggage tags, pill boxes, and more! I had a great time getting to know Lauren and catching up with Alexis, as well as really spreading the word about heart disease and the importance of living a heart-healthy life.

Many of the people who I spoke to did not understand that heart disease is not just grabbing your heart, saying “I think I’m having a heart attack”, and taking a Bayer aspirin. I explained that heart disease is a broad, umbrella term that describes any and all abnormalities or conditions related to the cardiovascular system, not just the heart. I had a great time and felt fulfillment from utilizing my chance to make a difference as Miss Teen International, I hope that my words helped at least one person who I met there choose to make healthy changes in their life!

Juliana McKee


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