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Interactive exhibit opens to help educate on healthier lifestyle


MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. — An interactive exhibit opening this weekend in Mount Holly helps to educate people on how to lead a healthier life and prevent chronic diseases.

CaroMont Health started a program with their employees in 2011 to encourage healthier . Now it’s spreading to the surrounding areas.

Cardiologist Dr. Mark Heckel says many patients he sees have heart problems that stem from preventable health conditions.

“We see a lot of smoking, obesity are big problems and those are behavioral things that people need to change,” said Heckel.

While family history plays a role in things like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, he says life choices like smoking, poor diet and a lack of exercise can ultimately lead to those and other problems that cause heart disease.

Heckel said, “if they can reduce those things or control them or quit smoking, they can dramatically reduce the risk of having a heart-related problem in the future.”

Nearly 60 percent of people who live in Gaston County are considered overweight and around 20 percent of them smoke daily.

In an effort to bring statistics like that down, CaroMont Health developed a interactive health exhibit in Mount Holly to educate people on how to live a healthier life and prevent chronic diseases through diet and exercise.

Andrea Serra, vice president of wellness development at CaroMont Health, said, “they get information in a friendly way, a fun way. They learn how all the little decision they make every day can affect their lives.”

CaroMont is working with local employers, schools, churches and physicians to better educate people.

Mounty Holly’s mayor, Brian Hough, who is also an insurance adviser, says if people lead a healthier lifestyle, it can also cut down on the cost of health care.

“Seventy percent of all health care costs are related to the diseases of high blood pressure and obesity,” Hough said.

The exhibit is funded by CaroMont and opens to the public Saturday.