Kanawha Delegate Meshea Poore has teamed up with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to form a new Legislative Wellness Project at the state Capitol.
“As lawmakers, we are constantly concerned with the health and well being of our constituents, but I am convinced that not all legislators are properly taking care of themselves,” Poore said. “I believe it is important to ensure that members of the Legislature are taking the same health precautions that we are promoting statewide.”
According to Dr. Rahul Gupta, Health Officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, West Virginia continues to have some of the worst health rankings in the nation for prevalence of diabetes, obesity, smoking, and deaths related to cardiovascular disease. These factors are responsible for thousands of premature deaths in West Virginia.
"Legislative leadership is critical to support West Virginia's focus on prevention if we are to improve health outcomes," stated Dr. Gupta.
The Legislative Wellness Project includes free preventative health screenings, and cardiovascular risk assessments for members of the Legislature to raise awareness of the national shift toward wellness and prevention. The screenings will begin Wednesday at 7 a.m. and continue Thursday.
"I would like to personally encourage every member of the Legislature to participate in this wellness activity, not only for their own personal health and wellbeing, but to promote healthy initiatives in their own communities," said Dr. Gupta.
Legislators can help by encouraging citizens to learn about heart disease and stroke signs, to know and understand their own cardiovascular health status through regular screenings, and to be physically active.
Beyond the screenings scheduled this week, the Project will continue providing health screenings March 1, one week before the end of the regular session, as well as during the monthly interim meetings of the Legislature July through November.
“I consider my fellow members to be family, and I want my family members to stay healthy,” Delegate Poore said. “Beyond that, I also hope that legislators will see how well we can work with our local health departments to spread the word about preventative care and that they then go home and start wellness initiatives in their own communities.”
* Members are the media are invited to visit the wellness clinic, which will run from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday in Room 252 of the Main Building of the Capitol (located on the first floor along hallway to the north of the House Chamber), and continue Thursday morning. *