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Office of Community Liaison (OCL)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 1, 2004


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Walter Mitton
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The National Institutes of Health Partners with Local Radio Station To "Share the Health" in Silver Spring
NIH's Fifth Annual Premier Health and Fitness Expo Features Free Fitness Activities, Sports Clinics, the 2004 NIH Healthy Games, Interactive Health Seminars, Wellness Workshops, Health Screenings, Mini-Lab Sessions, Exhibits, Games, Prizes and More

Bethesda, Maryland — Karaoke, music, giveaways and prizes are not what usually comes to mind when thinking about good health. But on Saturday, April 24, 2004, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is trying something new. By teaming up with local radio station, HOT 99.5, it is reaching out to the Silver Spring community to promote a day of free health-centered fun for the entire family. Share the Health: NIH's Premier Health and Fitness Expo offers interactive health seminars and exhibits, health screenings, hands-on lab experiments, science games, sports clinics, fitness demonstrations and games, children's activities, parenting workshops and more. Held at Montgomery Blair High School, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Share the Health provides health information and activities for children, teens, adults and seniors.

Sponsored by the NIH Office of Community Liaison (OCL) and the NIH Recreation and Welfare Foundation, the newly designed event promotes community health through the prevention of disease. Scientists at the NIH, the nation's premier biomedical research institute, will show us easy and fun ways to improve our fitness and maintain good health. "Share the Health allows people of all ages to learn, experience and discover new ways to lead a healthier life," says OCL Director Thomas Gallagher, Ph.D. "This event is your chance to find out what NIH is, what it does and how it can help improve your life."

With obesity close to becoming the leading preventable cause of death in America, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., are encouraging all Americans to take small achievable steps to improve their health and physical activity. "The more small steps we can take, the further down the road we will be toward better health for ourselves and our families," said Secretary Thompson. Keynote speaker Yvonne Maddox, deputy director of the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, will address this epidemic in her opening remarks.

Attendees can discuss their health concerns with NIH physicians and scientists during workshops on obesity and nutrition, the benefits of strength training, the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain, dental hygiene, diabetes, bone health, eye anatomy, music therapy, preventing sports injuries and infectious disease prevention. Robot Holly Heart offers health tips on keeping your heart healthy. Other workshops and presentations include the art of relaxation, acupuncture, Tai Chi exercise and Reiki therapy.

Local hospital staff will offer free health screenings to help community members discover if they are at risk for stroke, high blood pressure, skin problems, osteoporosis or obesity. And NIH information officers will provide the latest in NIH health research through a variety of fun and interactive exhibits.

Community members can surf reliable health-based Web sites and explore consumer-friendly sites such as NIHSeniorHealth.gov and MedlinePlus. Experts will be on hand to show participants how to access health information on the Internet.

Children can don lab coats and goggles to experience what it is like to be an NIH scientist for the day, performing hands-on lab experiments. They can also jump on a Moon Bounce, see a puppet show, play the parachute game, tour fire and rescue vehicles, meet the National Capital Therapy Dogs and win prizes.

Teens can compete in the NIH Healthy Games — NIH's own version of the summer Olympics — for awesome prizes. Football, basketball and soccer experts will be on hand to show teens the best ways to improve at their favorite game. Other features include scaling a rock-climbing wall, exploring the "Drunken Brain" and navigating an obstacle course with our Fatal Vision Goggles. Teens can also check out the latest healthy computer games and surf healthy Web sites designed just for them. Young scientists will also answer teens' career-related questions and help them map their future goals.

Free shuttle bus service from the Silver Spring Metro station is available. For more information or to register for this free event, call the Share the Health Coordinator at 301-650-8660 or visit http://sharethehealth.od.nih.gov.

The NIH Office of Community Liaison is dedicated to serving the interests and well being of the community surrounding NIH. Its role at the NIH is to partner with the community to address issues of common interest. The OCL works with community members to provide information about NIH and to share NIH's resources with its neighbors. For more information, visit http://ocl.od.nih.gov.


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