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Need to whittle your middle? Find out at the fair

SPRINGVILLE — For the past four years, the Children’s League and the Springville Kiwanis Club have presented the Christine Padasak Memorial Autism Awareness 5K and Fun Walk, to benefit the autism program at the league’s Preschool Learning Center. The event features a carnival, pancake breakfast, children’s games, basket raffle and this year, a health fair, sponsored by Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Registration for the race opens at 8 a.m. on Aug. 10, with the contestants’ taking off at 9:30 a.m. The health fair will also begin at 8, so community members may peruse those offerings, if they do not plan to walk or run. The fair will set up at PLC, located at 393 North St. in Springville.

“We are thrilled to be working with the league and the Kiwanis Club, to promote a healthier community,” said Marilyn Werner, community relations coordinator for Bertrand Chaffee hospital. “Our forward-thinking administration and board have made a commitment to the promotion of education and healthy habits.”

Representatives from the BCH wellness team will be screening adults’ Body Mass Index. The BMI test will be conducted by a registered nurse, who will weigh and check the height of the person, to determine his or her BMI.

A high BMI, which is classified as being greater than 30, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and possible cancer symptoms, according to the National Cancer Society.

Additional health-related agencies and businesses will also provide information at the fair, according to Werner.

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Nurse Manager of Health Promotion and Education Kathy Hebdon will coordinate the BMI testing, along with the heart center nurse manager, Staci Biscaro. Both have been trained in wellness and have been working in conjunction with BCH Director of Patient Care Services Darlene Schrantz and primary care manager, Amy Brynairski, in coordinating the hospital’s wellness activities.

Springville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erika Thurkins said she is excited about the chance to work together with BCH and the Children’s League.

“By merging our resources, the cross-promotion will provide ample opportunity to bolster attendance and funding,” she said. “With the collaboration of the Kiwanis Club, the PLC, the chamber and the hospital, it is my sincere hope that this community event will receive a great amount of attention to benefit the PLC’s autism program and the health of the citizens of Springville.”

The health fair was set up as part of a stated focus on the prevention of chronic disease, which is part of the New York State Health Department’s Community Service Plan, for the next three years. This plan has been developed in conjunction with counties, across the state, via surveys they submitted to that organization.

Those surveys demonstrated an elevated risk of chronic disease, due to the high incidence of obesity and an overweight population, throughout New York state.

According to a statement by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York ranks second in the country, in adult obesity-related medical expenditures, with total spending in New York increasing to $7.6 billion, from $6.1 billion, 81 percent of which is paid by Medicaid and Medicare.

Based on self-reported height and weight statistics, 60 percent of adults in New York state are either overweight or obese, according to the most recent NYSDOH survey.

Furthermore, according to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, “[Being obese] and overweight are currently the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States and may soon overtake tobacco, as the leading preventable cause of death. By the year 2050, obesity is predicted to shorten life expectancy in the United States by 2 – 5 years.”

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital has responded to this statewide initiative by training staff in accredited programs in both smoking cessation and diabetes education. Diabetes classes are currently offered at the hospital; smoking cessation classes begin in September. Contact the education department at 592-8115, for more information.

The hospital is also coordinating health fairs in Arcade and in Ellicottville, for the early spring. According to Werner, “The goal is to keep healthcare local and provide local prevention services for the residents, throughout the hospital’s service area.”

For more information about the autism awareness 5K and fun walk or to register to participate, visit or


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