UNC Asheville’s Health Fair attracts about 450, informs and educates in the process

A set of lungs breathed on the table, but one more easily than the other.

One was a soft pink and expanded and contracted with ease. The other was larger, darker and showed a tumor as a result of tobacco use.

The booth, set up by Mission Respiratory Therapy, was one of about 40 at yesterday’s second annual UNC Asheville Health Fair organized by UNCA health and wellness student Emily Pineda.

“It’s really cool to see how much we were able to put together,” Pineda said. “We didn’t have any money. We had no budget. It was just four people making this happen and moving tables around last night.”
Pineda worked with her sister, Rebekah, Carolyn Bacchus and Helen Lindau to coordinate the event.

Unlike last year, the health fair was open not only to students, but also to UNCA faculty, staff and the greater Asheville community. Last year, the fair attracted 370 students. This year, the turnout exceeded Pineda’s target of 400 people with about 450 in attendance.

For UNCA student Beaux Rose, the health fair gave her an opportunity to not only learn about various health resources and businesses in Asheville, but also gave her a chance to start thinking about where she might like to be as a health and wellness major after she graduates.

“I’ve just now become really interested in exploring all that Asheville has to offer health-wise, and I thought coming out to the health fair would be a great way to help lead me in the right direction,” she said.
For Laura Vincent, Greenlife’s demo specialist, the opportunity to reach out to students was one she could not resist. “I was here at last year’s health fair and it was such a success,” she said. “To this day, I still see students come into Greenlife and say hi to me that I met at last year’s health fair.”

One table, set up by the N.C. Cooperative Extension, showed people at the fair just how much sugar different soft drinks contain in a single serving and in an entire bottle.

“Reading your label can really educate you,” said Margaret Ruff, who teaches a class about nutrition as part of the extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. “Even in drinks that you think would be good for you, you still have to be aware of the sodium levels.”

Though Pineda plans to graduate in the spring, she said she hopes that next year’s health fair will be a success.

“The really great thing about this event is that it really shows people what’s out there in the community,” she said. “Sometimes, you just don’t realize how much the health community here has to offer until you visit an event like this.”
Photos by Megan Dombroski



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