Farm Bureau takes health on the road

Published 7:35 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation offered free health screenings Wednesday as part of the organization’s “Healthy Living for a Lifetime” initiative. The 50-foot mobile health-screening unit saw a steady stream of traffic throughout the day. Here, participants wait for their number to be called. (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

They rolled into Washington in a state-of-the-art mobile health-screening unit, set up shop in the First United Methodist parking lot and gave free screenings to all takers Wednesday. They were here on behalf of the N.C. Farm Bureau Federation.

More than 125 people participated in the free screenings for blood pressure, total cholesterol, glucose, body-mass index, bone density and for the older/at-risk population, abdominal and carotid vascular ultrasounds used to detect aortic aneurysms and artery blockages.

The free screenings are part of Healthy Living for a Lifetime, the federation’s initiative that addresses the health-care needs of rural counties. The other part of the initiative is educational — giving people the information they need to make the healthful lifestyle choices available to them.

To that end, Farm Bureau rotates its health-screening unit through 25 of the 85 rural North Carolina counties each year. Since the program started in fall of 2010, more than 3,000 people have been screened then given the tools to find a healthier way of living.

“It’s a success if we can reach a few people and get them on the right path,” said Mike Garlow, event manager for the Healthy Living for a Lifetime initiative. “We’re happy that folks are willing to come out.”

Many associate the name Farm Bureau with the insurance services it offers, but the organization originally started as an advocacy group for rural folks and farmers in 1936. It’s the nonprofit arm of Farm Bureau that reaches out to rural communities, helping to improve quality of life through services like the Healthy Living initiative.

“Farm Bureau has a tradition of giving back to the community,” said Garlow. “And health care is a huge need, especially in rural communities.”

In partnership with the Beaufort County Health Department, the Beaufort County Farm Bureau Agency sponsored the Healthy Living for a Lifetime event.