Over 300,000 Kansas State Fair attendees crowd in to see who won first prize for the largest pumpkin every year. They wait excitedly to go on thrilling rides and rush to food stands to savor the wide variety of fair food that can’t be found elsewhere, like the famous “pronto pups” (similar to corn dogs) that Kansans rave about. This year marked the 100th year anniversary of the Kansas State Fair and the 20th year anniversary of the Bob Dole Health Awareness and Cancer Screening Booth.
Free Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations, literature about health education and blood pressure and blood sugar tests were provided at the booth this year, made possible by our honorary co-chairs Senator Pat and Mrs. Franki Roberts, the Hutchinson Clinic and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Booth visitors were educated about how to protect themselves from Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many types of cancer. A fizz to fat model illustrated the harmful results of drinking soda and a “How to gain five pounds in thirty days” model showed that drinking two cans of soda and eating one candy bar a day for thirty days can make you gain five pounds. A five pound model of fat drove this point home even further. We challenged people to carry around five pound sacks of potatoes in their homes to see how much stress the extra weight would put on their bodies. It’s amazing how heavy five pounds can be!
While the focus of this year’s booth was health promotion and disease prevention, the main draw in previous years was prostate cancer screening. The new screening guidelines encourage men to have discussions with their health care providers about the pros and cons of getting screened. We sent out letters in advance of the fair to each of the men who had gotten screened in the last three years. Many came by to let us know that they had already had their appointments scheduled. Bravo to them for taking this important cancer prevention step!
Amidst the many activities at the 100th anniversary state fair, many people visited the Bob Dole Health Awareness and Cancer Screening Booth to learn how to take healthy steps towards cancer and disease prevention. We encouraged visitors to commit to making one change today, like eating one less fried food at the fair or exercising for thirty minutes. We challenge you to take the same step. What’s one change that you can commit to make today?