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For 6th year, Valley wellness walk helps people take control of their health

Health screenings for blood pressure and body-fat percentage tests were offered

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Staying healthy is an important part of everyone's life, but it can be difficult. Luckily, a community group in Youngstown is making it a bit easier for people in the Valley to stay healthy.

On Saturday, everyone was welcome to participate in the sixth annual Mahoning Valley African American Wellness Walk.

"We have something for everybody," said event organizer Lewis Macklin.

Blood pressure screenings, dental services, educational resources, health and medical institution information, body-fat percentage tests and other health screenings for all ages were offered.

"All here, providing their services for free for the health and safety and vitality of the community," Macklin said.

Todd Johnson, a father of two boys, went to the event to make sure his kids are healthy.

"It's important to instill physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle in your children," he said.

It's especially important for men to get screened regularly -- the average life expectancy for women in Mahoning County is 79 years old, but for men, it's 74.

"We believe this is a proactive, preventative way of folks knowing their numbers, knowing the information. And with all of that information they can take control of their life and live a healthy, productive life," Macklin said.

That's why Macklin believes health screenings are very important.

"It's essential that as African Americans that we pay more attention to our health status. There are certain diseases that we're just more prone to and we're just much better off if we get checked out early and often," Johnson said.

Macklin says if you don't catch a preventable disease early it could cost you everything.

"It could be a slow, painful death," he said.

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