For Carol Russell, the Schneck Live Well Expo is a great chance to learn more about a healthy lifestyle and get a few health screenings at a low cost.

The Seymour resident made her way through the event Saturday morning at Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium at Seymour High School and something caught her eye.

“I think there is more booths here that focus on food than before,” she said after speaking with Nightfall Farms owner Liz Brownlee.

Brownlee and her husband, Nate, produce and sell farm fresh produce locally from their Crothersville farm and recently added chickens to the mix of products.

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Russell would be the person to ask if something was new at the expo as she regularly attends the event, which has been conducted for 33 years.

“I always come every year,” she said. “I like to get the health screenings and read all the information they give you.”

Russell said she and her husband, Mike, try to eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise, even taking time each day to go on a walk.

“We also put out a big garden each year and include all the good foods,” she said.

Russell said by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, people can put themselves in a better position to prevent certain diseases.

“To me it make it makes more sense to prevent getting the disease in the first place by eating right and exercising right and getting your preventative care than waiting until you get sick and have to treat it,” she said. “I’d rather prevent something than treat it, and that’s why I come here.”

Jill Whitaker, a registered dietitian at Schneck Medical Center, said a balanced diet with the right foods is central to a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet is something many people don’t know much about.

She said people can make it simple by following MyPlate, a government education program that focuses on balanced diets and educating the public about diets.

“We focus on half of the plate being more fruits and vegetables and the other half of the plate being split between lean protein and whole grains,” she said. “Also, there is room for low fat dairy and that gives a balance and basis to plan those meals.”

Whitaker said the dietetics department at Schneck often educates patients about portion control, which also is important to a balanced diet.

“That is the key a lot of times because people are eating the right foods, but not necessarily the right amounts,” she said.

Whitaker recommended people have a variety of colors for fruits and vegetables like deep green colored vegetables or fruit that are bright orange.

“And for the meat, maybe focus more on more chicken, fish, turkey,” she said. “Anything that used to have feathers or fins.”

Natalie Harpe, events coordinator at Schneck, said the event is always a draw because of the affordable costs of certain tests and the education portion of the event.

The event features a blood draw for testing for $35. Harpe said the same test typically costs in the neighborhood of $100, and it is one of the more popular parts of the event.

This year’s event also included a thyroid test for $26, a significant discount, Harpe said.

These test provide visitors with information they may not have known to ask their family doctor and Harpe said that helps patients understand their personal health.

“There are so many things people forget about when they go to the doctor and they don’t think about tests that would help them with their overall health and this helps fill those holes at a low cost,” she said. “I’m thankful our community has this opportunity to have this type of event going on.”

Harpe said the testing also helps patients converse with their family doctors about their health.

“It gets them more aware about health, and I think it helps spark some conversations to get them proactive about their health,” she said.

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Jordan Richart is a correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.