Walking for a Healthier Bahamas
The 18th Annual Atlantic Medical Insurance Funwalk which took place on Saturday April 29th, 2017 in Freeport was a “colossal success” says organizers of the event.
“This year we had a total registration of 537 with more than 75% of those persons actually participating in the early morning event," said Office Manager Lisa Turnquest.
The event was high energy from start to finish with intense warm up exercises lead by Alice Williams of Mind Body and Soul. The walkers were brisk and ready to hit the road each trying to achieve their personal walking goals. This year, the walk was officially monitored by Fast Track Management who provided a clock/timer to enable walkers to view their finishing race times. The first walker to complete the race overall was Cleveland Greene who participated in the 60-65 age category.
As an added feature of this year’s event, the Freeport Funwalk partnered with the School Health Division of the Public Hospitals Authority's Health and Wellness Initiative. Fifty 10th grade students of the Sir Jack Hayward School enrolled in their 15-week guided program, which sought to improve the students' overall health and wellness through exercise and diet.
Dr. Tiadra Dorsett-Johnson, Family Medicine Specialist, stated that the program was created after a recent medical screening was performed at the school on the 10th graders. Subsequently, it was discovered that one in every 3 students is overweight and 25% of the students examined had elevated high blood pressures. This unhealthy weight places them at an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure as well as other weight-associated health problems.
Dr. Dorsett-Johnson, who is spearheading this program, is very excited to be able to have the students participate in the Atlantic Medical mega walk with hopes that this will be the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
The free wellness program enlists the assistance of the Dietician at the Rand and a fitness coach who conduct once per month group sessions with the students to discuss nutrition and diet, weekly exercise sessions on Saturday mornings and bi weekly weigh-in to monitor the progress of the program.
The program commenced April 1st and will run for 15 weeks.
Office Manager for Atlantic Medical- Lisa Turnquest says, “Ideally these are the type of partnerships we are excited to engage in because they echo the key objective of our event which is to promote healthy lifestyles in the prevention of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and some type of cancers”.
Atlantic Medical donated pedometers to the students and made a cash donation to assist with other materials used by the programs.
The target for this year’s event was 500 participants and the insurance giant is overwhelmed by the public’s support in helping to surpass that target number despite the many distractions that surrounded the event.
“The excitement of our Funwalk is beyond the competition of the race. It’s the energy our participants feel when they come out being able to win fun prizes and are a part of an overall worthwhile event. Participants in the walk filled social media with their posts, tweets and pics of them at our event posing in our unique photo frames, which said, “I walked for the cause”, said Turnquest.
We look forward to next year’s event where we intend to add a “run feature”, which has been requested repeatedly by our loyal and dedicated participants over the years.
We are grateful to the many persons who gave so generously to make the event the success it was namely: The Athlete’s Foot, Kelly’s Freeport Ltd, Pelican Bay Hotel, Viva Club Fortuna, Pretty Little Secrets, New Life Vegetation, GB Trading Co, and Aliv who gave the grand prize of an IPHONE 6s Plus with a 30day data plan.
We wish to especially thank the Grand Bahama Port Authority who once again this year took home the floating trophy for the company with the largest group registered for the walk. Their group consisted of 60 persons.
All proceeds from this event go to our designated charities- The Bahamas Diabetic Association and the Cancer Society of the Bahamas.