Walkers get healthy talk from doctor

Published 7:40 pm Saturday, December 9, 2017

Early morning temperatures in the 30s may have forced the walkers inside, but Saturday’s Walk with a Doc program hosted by Shape up Vicksburg still gave walkers a chance to chat with a doctor and get any of their health questions answered, all while getting a little exercise. 

Organized by Shape up Vicksburg executive director Linda Fondren, Walk with a Doc aims to allow people to get some exercise while talking with a doctor in an informal way about any health topics they have questions about.

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“Walk with a Doc is about getting people outside to get more physical activity,” Fondren said. “Walking is the number one exercise in the world today, and when they are able to walk with a doctor then they are able to get out of a white coat setting and they can feel free to open up to talk with a doctor and they absolutely love it.”

Saturday, six walkers were joined by Dr. Chris Clark, a thoracic surgeon at Merit Health River Region, as they made a few laps around the inside of Vicksburg Mall.

“We like to support the community,” Clark said. “The hospital in general supports the community, but as a surgeon I like to support community health in any way I can to support the community.”

The discussion Saturday centered on the ill effects of drinking too much sweet tea and soda and how to work to cut back on your sugar intake in your diet, Fondren said. No matter the topic, the goal is to give people the chance to interact with a doctor on a personal level and feel comfortable asking questions.

Walk with a Doc is held once a month by Shape up Vicksburg with different doctors from River Region on hand to answer questions.

“I think it is very important because a lot of people have white coat syndrome and when they see a doctor they think differently about us, they don’t want to talk to us as much and they don’t get personal as much unless they have to,” Clark said. “Here, it shows we are just like everybody else. We like to help people and our job is a little different than everybody, but that is what we are here for and it makes it very informal.”

Walk with a Doc was held as part of a larger health fair hosted Alcorn State’s Vicksburg campus. The health fair included free blood pressure checks, diabetes and kidney disease as well information about Fondren’s Shape up Sisters gym and more.

“It is important as we celebrate the holiday, we have all the good food and all of the extra fun going on, that we remind people it is a time of year that we can still try to be healthy,” Chris Gilmer, executive director of Alcorn Vicksburg, said. “Also it is a time of year that Alcorn wanted to give something back to the community and we thought a health fair would be a great Christmas gift for Vicksburg and Warren County.”