By Joel Hall
For the second year in a row, the Clayton County Board of Health (BOH) will observe Men's Health Week (June 9-15) with a series of events aimed at increasing local awareness about the health issues affecting men.
This year, the City of Riverdale, the Riverdale Wal-Mart, the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department, and several other organizations have teamed up with health officials to bring the message to men of all ages.
On June 9, the health board will kick off a week of activities with a health fair and ceremony in the main lobby of the Clayton County Health Department, located at 1117 Battlecreek Road in Jonesboro. It will take place from 9 a.m., to 1 p.m., and will be hosted by State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro). Included will be health exhibits and free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, glucose, hypertension, and issues specific to the male body.
Veronda Griffin, public information officer for the BOH, said men often are underserved when it comes to receiving information about health. She said the Men's Health Week events are an attempt to counter that.
"A lot of the programs that we try to emphasize primarily focus on children and women," said Griffin. "Men are not as quick to have check-ups as women, but on the flip side of that, there are not a lot of programs for men."
Griffin said throughout the week, there will be events encouraging men of all ages to control their weight, stay healthy and positive, and become more comfortable speaking about, and seeking treatment.
On Tuesday, June 10, from 10 a.m., to noon, the Frank Bailey Senior Center, located at 6213 Riverdale Road in Riverdale, will host a Senior Men's Health Awareness Day. The event will make senior men "aware of the aging process and how they can still stay active," said Griffin.
On Thursday, June 12, from 11 a.m., to 2 p.m., Clayton County International Park will host an Employee Health Awareness Day for all Clayton County employees. Health screenings will be provided, and information given to employees concerning obesity and other issues.
On Friday, June 13, at 7 p.m., Riverdale City Hall will host a Men's Health Symposium, led by Riverdale Councilman Kenny Ruffin. The event will be an open forum in which men can speak candidly with health officials about prostate cancer, mental health, and other issues.
Ruffin, whose father and three uncles died of prostate cancer, was personally motivated to cooperate. "We shouldn't wait until we get into an advanced age until we start thinking about our health," said Ruffin. "The only way you are going to survive prostate cancer is through early detection."
On Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., the Riverdale Wal-Mart, located at 7050 Highway 85 in Riverdale, will host a Health Fair in its parking lot. Throughout the day, there will be free dental screenings and checks for blood pressure, hearing, vision, and other issues.
Visitors also will be treated to free food, door prizes, massages and music. The event is free and open to the public.
Later that day, from 2-6 p.m., the Adolescent Health Center, located at 685 Forest Parkway in Forest Park, will host Youth Health Awareness Day. The event will feature food, health screenings, entertainment, and information aimed at getting younger men to take their health more seriously.
"We're trying to capture the younger guys and get them to look at their heath while they are young," said Griffin. "We're starting at that age to get them in tune with their body," and to make them "able to openly discuss things that are bothering them."
Some men "think that they might not need to go to the doctor, but that is definitely not the case," said Griffin. "Everybody needs to be responsible for their health."
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact (678) 610-7195.