NCNW Health & Wellness Expo


ST. PETERSBURG – The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) St. Petersburg Metropolitan Section hosted their annual Health and Wellness Expo last Saturday at Empath Health.

Featuring organizations from those who deal with mental health to memory disorders, the room was full of information on how to live a healthier life.

Although disappointed by the low turnout, expo chairperson Beverly Campbell feels the message is too important to stop.

“We will still do this no matter who comes,” said Campbell.

Dr. Ramona Valentine from A Slimmer You was on hand letting people know that the body they long for could be just 12 LipoMelt sessions away.

A Slimmer You is located inside Aria Health and Wellness Institute, 115 First St. SE, St. Petersburg, and offers an affordable, non-evasive alternative to liposuction and Coolsculpting.

The LipoMelt device was developed by NASA to help heal astronauts’ muscles and ligaments after being in space for long periods of time. They notice, however, it was also melting away fat.

Dr. Valentine has been slimming people down now for some six months with fantastic results.

“We can do almost everything; arms, legs, back, stomach, under the chin and can give a non-surgical facelift,” she said.

Once the fat is melted, it is moved through the lymph glands by vibration and exits the body through the normal elimination process.

She assures the 30-minute procedure is very comfortable and most people fall asleep during their time on the machine. Each session a client will lose anywhere from an eighth of an inch to two inches.

“You can usually see a difference,” she said, noting that the average client attends 12 sessions.

A Slimmer You is constantly offering discounts, so the best way to find out the cost is to attend a free consultation where you will learn about what causes fat stores and how to burn fat.

“They get an education on the consultation,” said Dr. Valentine, adding that measurements will also be taken and the number of sessions needed will be determined.

For more information on the LipoMelt procedure, please call (855) 771-SLIM.

Manning the Neighborly Care Network table, Tommy Williams gave out information on their health and wellness programs for seniors and their families. Some of the services provided include the Meals on Wheels program, affordable adult daycare and the free Senior Dining program for the elderly.

The Enoch Davis Center, 1118 18th Ave. S, is one of the sites throughout Pinellas County that houses Senior Dining. There the elderly can have hot meals and socialize with other seniors.

Neighborly Care Network provides free transportation to and from their programs, and for those who are homebound, the free Meals on Wheels program help seniors stay independently in their homes by supplementing their nutritional needs.

If you would like to take advantage of one of the many services offered or would like to volunteer and deliver meals to homebound seniors in the community, please call (727) 573-9444.

Health expo regular Melvin Smith, coordinator with the Sickle Disease Association St. Petersburg Chapter, was out bringing awareness to the debilitating disease that affects mainly African Americans.

Sickle Cell Disease is a condition that affects the red blood cells. It is characterized by the red blood cells becoming sickle in shape and stiff. Sickle cells are fragile and break up easier than the body can replace them, causing a person with the disease to experience extreme pain.

He explained that both parents must carry the trait, which is easily detected with a blood test, for a child to be born with the disease.

With both parents having the trait, there is a 25 percent chance it will be passed on to the child, which means there is a 75 percent chance that the child may only have the trait or have no trait at all.

You can live all of your life without knowing you have the trait, but they have discovered that those with a trait can have a crisis if brought on by exhaustion, dehydration or high altitude.

The association’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals affected by the disease and facilitate activities to lend economic, psychological and social support.

Smith encourages everyone to sign up for the bone marrow transplant registry because if a person with the disease receives healthy bone marrow, “you are cured of the disease.”

For more information, call (727) 896-2355 or visit their office housed in the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center 1344 22nd St. S.

Empath Health Community Outreach Specialist LaShante Keys said his role with the organization is to make sure African Americans receive the necessary information to benefit from their services.

LaShante Keys, Empath Health Community Partnership Specialist

LaShante Keys, Empath Health Community Partnership Specialist

One such partnership is with EPIC, who provides services to those impacted by HIV and AIDS throughout Tampa Bay. They provide a variety of services such as free HIV/AIDS testing, medical care, counseling, support and prevention services, housing assistance and a food pantry.

“It gives free services to a community that has been underserved,” he said.

As an Empath Health member, the program called PACE provides adult day care and support services to Pinellas County seniors. They focus on helping participants remain healthy, active, social and independent while living in their own homes through their primary and specialty care, engaging activities and emotional, spiritual and in-home-support.

Empath also offers free living will services, free 13-month grief counseling sessions, caregiver support and hospice care in or out of the home.

For more information, please contact (727) 467-7423.

Mary Siegel, a Heart Failure Nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital, was on hand sharing information about the importance of heart health.

As she handed out digital scales, she stressed to eventgoers to weigh themselves daily.

“It’s really important for people who have heart problems and high pressure to monitor their weight,” she said, adding that if your weight is two pounds more than the day before it’s a sign your body is retaining fluid. “Two pounds is a liter of fluid.”

Siegel explained that salt loves water; the more salt you consume, the more fluid your body retains. Those with high blood pressure and impaired kidney or heart function organs will have to work harder, which creates a vicious cycle and causes further damage.

The American Heart Association recommends less than 2300 mg a day of sodium, which is about a teaspoon of salt. If you have impaired heart function or heart failure, they recommend 1500 mg per day.

“That’s very challenging,” she said, listing the salty six: cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, soup, breads, burritos and tacos and some of you may have to take a seat for the next one…prepared chicken. That’s right, that rotisserie chicken you like so much from Publix or Walmart is soaked in or saturate with salty water, also known as brine.

Siegel said the transportation and food desert in Midtown is also a culprit. Without readily available fresh vegetables or transportation to a grocery store, people will get their food from corners stores, which are chocked full of high sodium items.

“We have to let our local elected officials know that this is damaging the health of our community.”

She stressed that heart failure is a controllable chronic illness, but it must be managed.

“Monitor your weight on a daily basis; monitor your salt intake and take your medicine as prescribed.”

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