www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/belair/ph-ag-healthy-harford-preview-0925-20130925,0,3139470.story

baltimoresun.com

Healthy Harford urges residents to live healthy

BY KRISHANA DAVIS, kdavis@baltsun.com

1:13 PM EDT, September 27, 2013

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Harford County residents can get on the path to healthy living Saturday while participating in Zumba classes, cooking demonstrations and health screenings during the second annual Healthy Harford Day at the Bel Air Farmers Market.

The free event, hosted by Healthy Harford — a coalition of local government agencies, non-profits, businesses and community allies dedicated to improving the overall healthy of Harford residents — will host more than 45 health and wellness vendors providing guidance and resources. Events will be held from 8 to 11 a.m at the corner of Hays and Thomas streets.

The day includes a schedule of events, which can be found on the Healthy Harford website. Karin Lawson of the Y of Maryland will host a Zumba class and Chef Jenn from the Open Door Cafe will hold a cooking demonstration. Face painting, a bounce house and other activities will also be available for children.

Bari Klein, health promotions specialist for Healthy Harford, said the event provides a diversity of health-based organizations for people of all health needs such as holistic living, physical education and plant-based diets.

"Inherently people want to be well," Klein said. "What people are lacking is the info to live a well and healthy life. This is done in a free way, full of access with the community so everyone feels involved and included."

Klein said Healthy Harford Day was birthed after a decade of studies conducted by Healthy Harford showed a dramatic increase in obesity and obesity-related illnesses among Harford residents.

"A lot of the obesity-related illnesses we saw in the study were preventable," said Klein. "That's when we decided we needed to focus on physical education and nutrition."

Klein said the Bel Air Farmers Market is the ideal location to host the health and wellness day.

"We'll be teaching people about healthy living and eating," Klein said. "And then they can go right over the farmers market and eat local."

She said Healthy Harford Day is designed to give residents insights into options, choices and resources for living a healthier life.

"The classes and events make it more of a community event," Klein said.

The health and wellness day will also provide information and resources on Lyme disease, a leading illness in the Harford County area. According to the Harford County Health Department, Harford had seen a 56 percent increase in cases of the tick-borne Lyme disease between 2001 and 2009.