For the past 25 years, the Wibaux Health Fair has been serving Wibaux and the surrounding Montana and North Dakota communities. With an emphasis on prevention, this annual health fair is one of Wibaux’s most anticipated events.
According to the 2009 Wibaux County Health Profile provided by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the leading cause of death in Wibaux County is heart disease with cancer being second. Health care in Wibaux consists of a county-owned clinic building staffed by Glendive Medical Center two days a week, and Fallon Medical Complex two days a week. Nutrition and health education are essential components needed to emphasize the importance of developing healthy lifestyle changes in order to lower the current heart disease, cancer and vehicular accident rates. Routine medical examinations also play an important role in prevention as well as early detection. With heart disease being the number one cause of death in Wibaux County, community members are aware that increased physical activity and improved dietary habits are a necessity to prolong their lives.
The Health Fair Committee, of which the County Agent, Program Assistant, and County Health Nurse are members, gives input on the planning and implementing of the Wibaux Health Fair. In speaking with a cross-section of the 600-plus attendees at the Wibaux Health Fair, we are continually encouraged to make our annual event cost-effective, educational and informative. The positive feedback we receive through personal contact, phone calls, and e-mails, is further reinforcement that this event is creating healthy lifestyle changes in our small community.
The ultimate goal of the Wibaux Health Fair is to assist members of the Wibaux community and surrounding communities in developing an awareness of behavior and lifestyle modifications to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
A survey given to Wibaux Health Fair participants in the year 2009 showed that the majority of attendees are coming to the Health Fair due to the low cost of the testing and to view the exhibitor booths. Members of Wibaux and surrounding communities adopt recommended lifestyle and dietary practices such as recommended: physical activity, stress management, responsible drug and alcohol use, and the appropriate use of the health care system.
The Health Fair has proven year after year to save members of this community and the neighboring community thousands of dollars in health care costs. It has also saved the lives of those who have been referred to their primary care physician due to an abnormal blood profile result or other screening test provided at the Wibaux Health Fair.
Offering the blood profile and prostate screening at a reduced cost encourages people to complete their annual blood work in a timely and cost-effective manner. Incorporating educational programming along with the informative and hands-on exhibitor booths provides supplemental information to those attending the Wibaux Health Fair.
Partners for the Wibaux Health Fair are the planning committee and Wibaux County Extension. For more information, please contact David Bertelsen or Patti Goroski at (406) 796-2486 or visit the Wibaux County website at www.wibauxextension.com.