The “Healthy Families, Healthy Communities Expo” made its way to Cornerstone Church in Corpus Christi this weekend to bring the community together in addressing family health issues. The expo, a community event hosted by Texas A&M Healthy South Texas, provided education, demonstrations and information about lifestyle changes to improve the well-being and health outcomes of more than 650 expectant mothers, young parents and their families in attendance.

“This event is just the beginning of a journey that will lead us to a healthier future,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “If we can give our children a healthy start today, our communities will begin to become more vibrant and productive tomorrow. And those benefits will increase with each generation. That is why it is so vital that we reach out to young families.”

A number of vendors from area organizations provided resources in wellness, nutrition, physical activity, parenting, safety, health education and more. Free health screenings, sports physicals and low cost immunizations were also available.

“Nothing is more important to South Texas families than good health,” said Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal. “Good health begins with understanding family health issues. This expo offers all our families an opportunity to learn how to improve health for all ages. I encourage all to take advantage of this opportunity by taking part in Healthy South Texas programs.”

The event, hosted by Healthy South Texas, an unprecedented effort to promote preventive health across the region, encouraged participants to sign up for programs that focus on reducing the highest impact diseases and their consequences, including diabetes, asthma and infectious disease.

“A strong and successful future for Texas is only possible if we ensure that the next generation of Texans is healthy and well-educated,” said Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa. “It’s great to see so many community members and representatives coming together at events such as this one with a shared vision of creating a culture of better health in South Texas.”

There were also door prizes such as cribs, high chairs, portable play yards, toddler beds, strollers and educational toys. The first 300 families through the door received diapers and backpacks full of baby gear.

“Our goal is to provide as many young families as we can with support, motivation, resources and knowledge that empowers them to take control of their health and serve as an example for future generations,” said Starr Flores, regional director of Healthy South Texas. “Lifestyle habits developed during the early years often become lifelong habits and we want to perpetuate a healthy lifestyle for all.”

Healthy South Texas is the pilot project of Healthy Texas, and according to Sharp, it’s just the beginning. “We believe Healthy South Texas will eventually serve as a statewide and even national model for improved overall health.”

— Dominic Hernandez

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