This is the second year for the event.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- In about two weeks, black women and their families will be invited to literally take the first steps toward a more healthy lifestyle.
The "Mahoning Valley African-American Women's Wellness Walk -- A Walk for Life" will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18 in Wick Park on the city's North Side. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and will include healthy refreshments and pre-walk activities.
Elaine Welsh, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, said the walk started as a pilot program last year, but the overwhelming success has led to an annual event.
About 350 people came out to walk last year in rainy conditions. Sponsors are hoping for about 500 people this year.
Welsh said participants are asked to walk a minimum of three miles or whatever distance their fitness level will allow. A complete circle around the park equals one mile.
Black women 24 and older will be the primary focus of the free event, but sponsors are opening it to anyone with a desire to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. There will be activities for all groups.
"There is such a high risk of heart disease and stroke even at an early age ... that this type of event is definitely needed," Welsh said. "We target women because women are typically the caregivers of the family, and we figure if we educate women they will carry that knowledge back to the family."
Welsh said sponsors hope participants leave with a better understanding of their personal health risk and a clearer understanding of the necessity of exercise and proper eating habits.
There will be health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose testing and body fat analysis conducted by the Mahoning-Trumbull Council of Black Nurses Association, Inc. Various service organizations also will provide informational exhibits
There will be entertainment by the singing group Prophecy and the WMIB dance troupe will perform. The Butler Institute of American Art and the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department will provide children's activities.
The event is sponsored by Humility of Mary Health Partners, Trumbull Memorial Hospital Foundation, Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority, Dr. Cesar J. Augustin, a local dentist, and Dandridge's Burgundi Manor Nursing Home.