Washington Tennis Association representatives hold court with a young child during the NBC4/T44 Telemundo Health and Fitness Expo at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, held Jan 18-19. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

Residents from throughout the D.C. metropolitan region packed the Walter E. Washington Convention Center over the weekend for the 27th annual Health and Fitness Expo, an event filled with a plethora of health and exercise services.

The two-day event is one of the highest-attended health-related events in the nation, usually drawing about 85,000 participants every year.

Exhibitors on hand Saturday provided attendees with health care services, as well as fun sport, and dance sections for children and adults alike.

But many residents attend the event solely to complete their annual health screenings, even if this year’s options didn’t seem as robust as years past to some.

“Well, I came out to get the free screenings that they have,” said Maryland resident Reginald Owns. “I think it’s pretty good, but in past years they had more to do. I think this year they don’t have as much of the screenings, like the prostate, and a couple of other things. Other than that overall, it’s been a good experience.”

Exhibitors around the room referred expo-goers to bigger health care organizations in attendance that could provide services for those who have not yet secured it for themselves.

Audrey Clarke, a representative of Living Well, a specialty bulk food and Christian bookstore, helped many participants find their way to DC Health Link Exchange to better their insurance opportunities.

“A part of our process includes having people sign a consent, and so far we have already served over 200 people, so the turnout has been great,” Clarke said. “We are sympathetic because we know that a lot of people use this event for their annual physical. So we try to provide those essential services. We offer hepatitis C screening, and HIV, high blood pressure, glucose. There is dental, body fat analysis, vision, and some psychiatric training, mental health and all that. We try to cover a broad spectrum of our health.”

The event also showcased a few Black-operated health and wellness companies, such as Dr. Kirt Tyson, a neurologist at Balanced Health Medical Center attending the expo for the first time. The table for his clinical office, which specializes in holistic health practices, proved to be a popular one.

“There’s a steady crowd coming through, the people are really excited, they’re interested in their health and ways they can help to improve it,” said Tyson, who has been running the center on H Street NE since 2013. “They come over and ask questions about therapies that they don’t typically have with their primary care doctor because they aren’t exposed to different types of medicines and therapies that go outside of pharmaceuticals. … I look forward to coming back again in the future.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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