Fair focuses on healthy living

When Dr. Gerry Karr worked in the medical field in Penticton he looked after people with kidney disease and multiple other chronic conditions.

In doing so, he realized the impact it was having on their quality of life and the burden placed on the healthcare system.

So in the back of his head he thought we have to do more. Out of that came the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Fair.

“This is a focus on health promotion and primary prevention, meaning you get involved before the diseases occur,” he said.

This year the fair, held by the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Society, of which Karr is chair, will take place Saturday at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

Karr, now retired, started the fair in 2008 along with retired nurse Bev Arsenault, to recognize the city’s centennial.

It was a huge success from the start, with more than 3,000 people attending.

It continued every year, except for last, when Karr said a combination of difficulties getting funding, volunteer fatigue and a desire to form a coalition rather than a society took place.

The coalition is focused on bringing together all the existing community resources to support healthy living and new projects.

It is still in its formative stages, and the society, which now has charitable status, is putting on the fair.

Among the highlights of the free event, are a health assessment program for anyone who comes through the door, which provides people with a look at their own risk factors for developing chronic  disease.

Following the personal assessment, they go to a goal setting station and get professional coaching by a physician or qualified nurse to develop an action plan to improve health status.

There will be close to 60 exhibitors, commercial  and nonprofit, showing a  variety of information and resources for healthy living.

Guest speakers from the sports and fitness fields will offer information and there will be a kids’ area.

The fair is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 2 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

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