Instead of staging the NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo (Nbc4healthexpo.com) right after people make their New Year’s resolutions, the station is trying something different this year: holding it right after people have completely given up on those resolutions.
A busy inauguration schedule in January persuaded the organizers to push back the annual event — one of the largest free shows of its kind — to this weekend. It also gave them a little extra time to prepare for the expo’s 20th anniversary.
The event got its start, NBC4’s Matt Glassman says, because of community demand: “Our station had a lot of folks reaching out to promote health and wellness. And we have a big megaphone here.”
Several of those folks, including MedStar Health, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Howard University Hospital, have been involved every year. They’ve been joined by an expanding list of exhibitors — more than 250 booths will be set up at the Washington Convention Center (801 Mt. Vernon Place NW) on Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“The list of things you can get screened for goes on and on. Get your kidneys checked, blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes,” says Glassman, who’s heard several stories of lives that have been saved thanks to the smorgasbord of free medical tests.
What makes the experience never feel like a visit to the doctor’s office is all of the other programming. New for this year are a zip line and a kid’s obstacle course. That’s in addition to rock climbing, tennis, soccer, golf, a walking track and a marathon of Zumba classes. The various stages will showcase a variety of fitness activities (including kettlebells, fencing and belly dance) and cooking techniques.
There are forums to attend, with the station’s news anchors moderating discussions on such topics as stress, weight loss and allergies. There are celebrities to see — contestants from “The Biggest Loser,” Redskins players and other special guests. And there is free stuff to collect from the booths, which often hand out goodies to encourage people to stop by.
“There’s something I learn about every year,” Glassman says. Maybe this time it’ll be whether the expo should move to March permanently.