Several residents gathered Saturday at a local YMCA to look at dozens of booths centered around health and wellness for the inaugural Wellness Expo.
The YMCA, Capital Region Medical Center, Jefferson City Medical Group, SSM Health-St. Mary's Hospital and the United Way partnered up for the free comprehensive expo at the Jefferson City Area YMCA Firley Y on Ellis Boulevard.
More than 40 vendors registered for the expo, all offering information about exercises, diets, safety, local parks, mental health and family resources. Lindsay Huhman, director of marketing and public relations for CRMC, said offering the wide-range of information in one place helps residents become more aware of what the community offers.
Ashley Varner, healthy communities coordinator and wellness navigator at CRMC, added by providing a large scope of information, the expo targeted everyone, not just one group of individuals.
"The whole point here (is) to make people feel better and get that education out there," she said, watching expo visitors observe a cooking demonstration. "There's a lot of people who are on this continuum of health — they're on their journey of health. Some people can be drinking (soda) and not know it's bad for them and then you have people on the other end of the spectrum who are exercising and eating organic and locally, so you have all of these education levels out there."
A steady stream of people filtered in and out of another popular area, the free medical screening stations, which included vision, height and weight, fall prevention and balance, and skin and dental screenings.
"Sometimes, people don't have the resources to afford those things or it's just hard to make all of those different appointments with your doctor to get in and get all of those things done, so this is kind of one place that you can come and get some screenings on those things," YMCA health and fitness Director Kelsey Riggs told the News Tribune last month.
Huhman added the screenings do not replace doctor visits, but instead can encourage people to make appointments if they have concerns.
While many may think wellness is just exercise and dieting, several vendors noted it encompasses the entire body.
"Any more, health isn't just considered like your primary health care — it's all of it," Huhman said. "You can make a case it's your mental health, it's your financial health, it's your spiritual health. All of those things make us healthy or unhealthy so that's the reason to cover it all."
Originally scheduled for January, the health expo was postponed to Saturday due to high rates of illness.