Health and Fitness Expo provides options for uninsured

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A recent Gallup poll revealed the number of Americans lacking health insurance rose for the fourth straight year. In 2011, the uninsured rate reached 17 percent, but some of those people got a free health checkup this weekend.

The Healthcare Medical Group, or HMG, hosted its fifth annual Health and Fitness Expo Saturday, and St. Bernards Medical Center offered health screenings to area residents at no cost.

An area was set aside for people to get free health checkups amidst the numerous booths inside the Convocation Center at Arkansas State University. The screenings could help identify things like cholesterol and blood sugar levels and measure blood pressure.

Alma Smithwick, a grandmother of four, says getting a checkup can be costly.

"They got it all organized and everything. It's really nice," Smithwick said after getting her blood drawn. "You're getting free screenings, so I think everybody should come out, especially anyone who doesn't have insurance to come on out and get this done."

The HMG Health and Fitness Expo wraps up Sunday, April 22, with free physical exams being offered to all junior and senior high school students. They are encouraged to stop by the Convocation Center between 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Organizers expect more than 1,300 student athletes to receive free physicals.

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