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Free blood pressure, cholesterol screenings held

Knowing your numbers is the first step toward a healthier life.

Members of Vaughan Community Health Services, Inc. held free screenings Tuesday at the Selma-Dallas County Library for blood pressure, total cholesterol and blood glucose.

“It’s just important that these people stay on top of their health problems,” Karen Morris, community health educator with Vaughan Community Health Services. “We see good numbers and we see bad numbers. When the numbers are bad, we refer them to their doctor.”

Desired cholesterol should be less than 200, blood glucose should be less than 110 and blood pressure should be less than 140/90.

Vaughan Community Health Services holds screenings twice a year at the library and twice a year at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA.

“We do have people who come to us, no matter where we are, on a regular basis a couple times a year just to make sure they’re still aligned with their good health practices,” said Kathi Needham, director of HealthLink and project coordinator for Strategic Alliance for Health for Dallas County.

Helen Stewart has attended the free screenings every time they are offered at the library.

“I try to take advantage of the free because they are downtown and you don’t have to make an appointment, you can just walk in,” Stewart said.

To promote a healthier lifestyle, Needham and Morris encouraged people to use the newly marked City Walk, a path around the block of City Hall and the library.

“Eventually we hope to have them all over the city,” Needham said. This way they are able to walk in a safe area on a nice, well-maintained sidewalk, don’t have to cross the street.”

Needham and Morris also have plans to create more paths in all wards and communities such as in Orrville and Plantersville.

The path is part of several projects funded from a grant from Alabama Strategic Alliance for Health Program through the Center for Disease Control and Health Prevention and is part of a national initiative called Building a Healthier Nation.

All 21 Alabama counties will receive $3.9 million over a five-year period to use for local projects that will combat obesity and inform about prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The path is one of several projects planned for Dallas County.

Vaughan Community Health Services, Inc. will hold more free screenings on April 20 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA.