The Madina Institute hosted its first-ever Health Fair last Saturday, May 16. Titled “How’s Your Heart: a Focus on Cardiovascular Health,” the event brought a diverse group of health professionals together with members of Georgia’s Muslim community.
“We’re living in a generation where adult diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure are now more commonly seen in children,” said Dr. Sofia Chaudhary, a physician, pediatrician and lead organizer of the Health Fair. “With over 1 million children being overweight or obese in the state of Georgia, our Strong 4 Life sugar demonstration aimed to give parents the number one trick to reduce unhealthy food practices in their kids: avoiding sugary soft drinks, sports drinks, and juices.”
The health fair therefore offered programs for adults, teenagers and children.
For teens and adults, services included testing of their vital signs, body mass index, blood sugar, and blood pressure, as well as consultations by physicians and pharmacists, and concluded with presentations by specialists.
The children’s section featured a Nutrition 101 Corner where children were asked to pack their own lunches. Their chosen food was then reviewed by physicians. Other services included a ‘Strong 4 Life’ sugar demonstration which showed the amount of sugar in our most popular drinks, vitals testing, pediatric consultations for children and their parents, and healthy activities such as hula hoops and basketball.
The purpose of the fair, organizers said, was to promote a stronger sense of health awareness as well as healthier habits for the entire family.
“It’s a topic that’s crucial in our community as many of us have encountered heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, be it in ourselves or our family members,” Dr. Chaudhary said. “We wanted to teach our participants how to take a proactive role in their health and how to be good to their bodies as our faith teaches us to.”
Other participants echoed those sentiments.
“High blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels often coexist together, and they increase one’s risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” said Dr. Aslam Omar, another organizer of the event. “The good news is that these chronic conditions are largely preventable with simple lifestyle changes. Our goal at Madina Institute is to raise awareness among our Muslim brothers and sisters of these conditions, and empower them through education to take steps to prevent and/or manage them in the best way possible.”
The Health Fair also provided members of the community the opportunity to network and meet with practicing Muslim physicians, pharmacists, and health professionals. Over two dozen high school & college students volunteered for the event alongside a dozen medical students, nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other medical professionals.
Specialist presentations were conducted by Dr. Mirza Ahmed, Dr. Sofia Chaudhary, and Dr. Faheem Taha, who presented on heart disease, childhood obesity, and diabetes, respectively.
The Health Fair also featured the first-ever Blood Drive hosted at Madina Institute, which was conducted in partnership with the American Red Cross. 27 donors made it out to the Bloodmobile, 20 of whom were able to give a total of 20 pints of blood, potentially impacting the lives of 60 people in need of blood donations.
“I really enjoyed the Health fair this past weekend!” said Rabeea Ahmad, a volunteer and 3rd year Chemistry student at Georgia Tech. “Helping our community maintain good health and educating them about certain risk factors is very important & I hope to see this phenomenal event again next year insha’Allah.”
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