YMCA Hosts LSU Barbershop Initiative Family Health Night
BATON ROUGE – More than 180 community members recently attended a Family Health Night for LSU’s “Fresh Cuts, Clean Health,” or FCCH, barbershop initiative. The event was held at the Baranco-Clark YMCA in the Old South Baton Rouge Community.
“Fresh Cuts, Clean Health” is a barbershop outreach initiative that provides free health screenings to men of color in Baton Rouge barbershops. The initiative also provides follow-up educational events and partners with other health initiative programs. It is coordinated by the LSU Community University Partnership and funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.
The Family Health Night focused on two primary components: fitness and health education.
The fitness portion mostly consisted of various fitness activities, which were conducted by LSU student volunteers. Local elementary students were encouraged to do exercises, including jump rope, endurance, push-ups and stretching.
Kara Kennedy, kinesiology-human movement-pre-med senior, ran the hula-hoop fitness activity.
“I enjoyed hula hooping with all the kids,” said Kennedy. “Not only was it a good workout, but I loved that the kids challenged me to see who could hula hoop the longest.”
A mass Zumba class was also incorporated as the culminating fitness event. It was designed to get participants of all ages “moving” as a family.
“The Zumba class was great!” said Tyra Thomas, community member. “My whole family enjoyed dancing to the music and our hearts were racing.”
Baton Rouge health professionals also participated in the Family Health Night to emphasize the importance of healthy living techniques. The FCCH’s phlebotomy team from LSU Health/Earl K. Long Clinic provided free health screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Additionally, free haircuts by local barbers Charles Battles and A.J. Poydras were offered as an incentive to receiving a health screening.
Dr. Breah Burkhalter of Distinctive Smiles of Baton Rouge provided kid-friendly information on dental health.
“I love the opportunity to talk about oral health with the community” said Burkhalter. “Especially in the field of dentistry, people are so nervous, so it’s nice to meet and talk to them in a comfortable setting.”
Other presenters included: Frankie Poland from Southern University’s AgCenter Communities of Color Network; Grace Bella, recruitment core at Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and the EBR Parish Cooperative Extension Service’s “Germ Cave,” which teaches families the importance of hand washing.
The goal was to empower families with information that leads to healthier lifestyle choices. Sheletta Donatto, a certified diabetes educator from Pennington, agreed. Donatto brought hands-on materials to explain the importance of portion control using Michelle Obama’s “My Plate” diagram.
“Portion control is the foundation of any meal plan whether it’s for wellness or disease maintenance,” said Donatto. “Because it is more visual, ‘My Plate’ is much easier for children and adults to understand than the traditional Food Guide Pyramid.”