Tuesday, July 01, 2014

My Walgreens Way to Well Assessment at Fitbloggin'

At Fitbloggin', I had a chance to take a health assessment courtesy of Walgreens.

Note: Walgreens brought their Way to Well Tour to the Fitbloggin' conference and provided bloggers with the opportunity to have free health screenings. No compensation was provided for this post and the opinions here are my own.  

I did my Way to Well health screening right after taking my first Zumba class. The Way to Well bus was parked right in front of our conference hotel, and both Fitbloggers and regular people off the street were taking advantage of the free screenings.

I was impressed by the cleanliness and efficiency of the setup on the bus. There were three curtained areas (plus a fourth curtain around the driver's seat).  The curtains were for privacy, since not everyone wants to post their results publicly on the Internet for all the world to see.

In between, there were benches and other places to stand while we waited for each station.  One of the people getting screened was a pedicab driver -- I was sure if she could pull tourists behind her on her bicycle in the heat and humidity of Savannah, she would have to be one of the fittest people they ever tested. She said that her BMI put her just shy of "overweight." I wish I had asked if I could take her picture -- she was lean, muscular, and gorgeous.  She said she did body building in addition to her very physical job.

In the first area, I had my finger pricked for the blood glucose and cholesterol screenings. In the second area, I got to stand on a fancy body-fat scale that also had a handle so that it could collect information from both the upper and lower body.

In the final curtained area, we got our results and had them explained to us. I had a pretty good idea that my cholesterol and blood glucose would be fine, but I have had a couple of higher blood pressure readings lately, so I was curious to see how it would be after Zumba.

Of course, I also knew my BMI and body fat percentage were higher than I wanted them to be. The nurse who explained my results to me was really nice and gave me a balanced picture of what my results meant.  Even though my body fat percentage was high, the visceral fat (fat around the organs) is the riskier kind, and my number there is really good. I also have a good percentage of skeletal muscle.  So I basically have a healthy body that then has some extra weight on it -- and of course it is no surprise to me that I need to lose weight.

The handwritten numbers at the top of my results sheet are a quickie calculation she showed me to find out how much weight I'd need to lose to bring my BMI into the healthy range -- subtract the number I have from the number I am shooting for, and then multiply by 5.  It came out as 20 and I would like to lose 25-30.

The blood pressure, she explained, was low because I had just come out of a strenuous workout -- after exercise, the body works to calm itself down.  I have a physical coming up and I will have to see how the blood pressure comes out then.

I wasn't told how the body age is calculated, but since everything else on my sheet is pretty healthy, the high body age is probably a combination of the too-high weight and body fat combined with the slightly low blood pressure.

I would definitely recommend these free screenings to anyone, especially those people who don't already see a doctor regularly.  It screens for serious conditions that are common but that often don't have symptoms. Unlike the screenings I have had at health fairs, I wasn't just handed a number -- I had someone knowledgable there to explain my results to me and answer any questions I had.  There is also practical advice in the results packet for how to bring down blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol.  People with seriously high readings on any of these are also probably advised to follow up with a physician.

If you are interested in finding out more, check out the Way to Well Tour homepage, where you can find information about the screenings an search for a tour near you.

Which of these numbers would you most like to find out?

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07