Walk targets risk group

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A walk to benefit the health of African-American men was held Saturday in Mahoning County.

Hundreds gathered at Holy Trinity Baptist Church for the first annual African-American Male Wellness Walk. Participants could walk, run and bike through the trek.

“We are trying to bring awareness to black men that black men die from all types of diseases, number one,” said founder John Gregory. “We just want them to know to go to the doctor, know your number and move.”

The men participating in the walk had an opportunity to do all those things. Screenings were available for body fat index, blood pressure and sugar levels.

“They save lives. There is no question about it. That is the whole thing. Prevention saves lives much better than treatment,” said Dr. Duke Starr, St. Joseph Community Care Clinic.

Gregory said most African-American males do not go to the doctor and seek proper screenings but in a setting such as the walk where the men feel comfortable and are among their peers, they are much more likely to get screened.

“When you are seeing other people doing it, you do not want to be left out, you want to be a part of the group,” said James Locker of Youngstown. “When I heard about his event, I got excited. I think health is one of the most important things you have. You need to protect it, and I wanted to make sure everything is on the up and up with myself.”

Over 120 men were screened Saturday for several diseases, and the results showed that 50 percent of them suffer from high blood pressure.

The walk in Youngstown was one of several held throughout Ohio.

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