Festival for healthier living set for Sunday

In an effort to encourage healthier lifestyles in the Rio Grande Valley, AIM Media Texas, which owns The Monitor, will be hosting Por Vida Health & Food Fest.

Featuring more than 40 vendors offering a variety of health-related services — food sampling, local gym information and health screenings — the free event is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Pharr Events Center, at 3000 N. Cage Blvd. in Pharr.

DHR Health is the presenting sponsor of the event, and will have a variety of specialist on site throughout the day. Attendees will have the opportunity to have a variety of screenings done, including vision and cholesterol.

Local businesses participating include Marquez Robotic Orthopedic Institute, Womankind OB-GYN, PA, Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Xpress Dental and Your CBD Store.

In addition, H-E-B Cooking Connections will be hosting live demonstrations of low-calorie and nutrient-dense recipes.

The event will offer advice for all aspects of a healthier lifestyle, Marcia Kitten of The Monitor said, providing health, fitness and cooking tips.

“The whole gamut in trying to live a healthier lifestyle,” Kitten, who works in promotions and marketing, said.

After the Robert Vela High School Mariachi group opens the event with music, fitness demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m and 12:15 p.m. Live cooking from H-E-B Cooking Connections chefs are set for 1 p.m.

Dr. Dona Cooper-Dockery, an internist at DHR Health, is set to conduct a plant-based, vegan cooking demonstration at 1:30 p.m. One meal prep the Jamaica native will be demonstrating, which will include everything from healthy fare to classic Hispanic dishes, are tofu tacos.

“This event we consider to be extremely important, because down here in the Rio Grande Valley, we do have a really high degree of diabetes and other health issues,” Kitten said. “So, whatever we can do as an organization, along with our business partners, to help older generations but also start it now in the younger generations to live a better lifestyle (is the goal.)”

About 30.3 million U.S. residents are diagnosed with diabetes, and of that number, 11.2% live in Texas. Hidalgo County ranks highest in diabetes hospitalization rates in the country, with 20 cases for every 100,000 residents, a little higher than the nationwide rate of 17.1.

Food-related businesses that will be present include Fit Grill RGV, Fork to Fit Kitchen, Juice Up and Fresh & Tasty.

“I think that regardless of one’s lifestyle or one’s own personal medical condition, this event can offer important information and possibly change someone’s life,” Kitten said. “If it is about one person or a whole community of people, (we want them to be) aware of the preventative medical care that is provided here.”

cdeguzman@themonitor.com