Harvest festival Saturday at N.C. Research Campus

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2009

By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó Swine flu prevention will take center stage at a community health and nutrition fair Saturday at the N.C. Research Campus.
The Harvest Health & Wellness Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Kannapolis, including more than 50 booths, health screenings, entertainment and presentations on topics like H1N1, or swine flu. Local officials can’t predict how severe or widespread H1N1 will become this winter, said Dr. William Pilkington, director of the Cabarrus Health Alliance.
Pilkington will speak at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at the main stage for Harvest, which stands for Health Awareness & Research Via Education Screening Tasting.
A vaccination is the best prevention for someone at high risk for N1H1, Pilkington said.
Those high-risk categories have caused some confusion, Pilkington said.
“The information changes almost weekly,” he said. “The best way to know is the CDC Web site. I will look at it Friday before I talk.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has moved pregnant women to the top of the priority list. Visit the Web site at www.cdc.gov and click on the H1N1 Flu link.
Children and people with chronic disease are also considered high-risk and should be vaccinated, Pilkington said.
“The younger they are, the more important it is to be vaccinated,” he said.
Pilkington said he will discuss other prevention methods and dispel myths about N1H1.
The Research Campus includes eight universities studying human health, nutrition and agriculture. Additional speakers at the festival work at the campus with one of the partner universities.
– Dr. Leonard L. Williams, associate professor of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology with N.C. A&T University, speaking about food allergens, food intolerance and food safety.
– Dr. Andrew Shanely, assistant professor of exercise science with Appalachian State University, speaking about sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle strength and mass.
– Dr. Wei Jia, co-director of the Center for Research Excellence in Bioactive Food Components, part of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, speaking about traditional Chinese medicine and its role in diseases such as metabolic disorders.
– Dr. Carol Cheatham, associate professor of psychology with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, speaking about the role of docosohexanoic acid (DHA) in children’s brain development.
Screenings will include glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and kidney. Fitness opportunities include T’ai Chi demonstrations, a free yoga class, a family fun run-ride, a soccer shoot-out and other sports clinics.
People can enroll in the MURDOCK study, a long-term medical research study named for campus founder David Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Food Co.
One end of the campus will host a farmer’s market, and Food Fear Factor returns for children. The festival starts with a 5K run at 7:30 a.m. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m.