Can a cow-calf conference improve human health? It can if it’s the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference. ISU Extension will continue its tradition of providing free human health screenings during the Feb. 28 conference in Ottumwa. Typically more than 500 people come to the conference to learn and share ideas about making the cow-calf business profitable and competitive long-term. Each year more of them seek out the health screenings, as well.
For the past five years ISU Extension has worked with Public Health volunteers to offer free human health screenings at the event, said ISU Extension nutrition and health field specialist Barb Anderson. Services offered have ranged from blood pressure checks and rapid diabetes checks to complete lipid panel, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and HDL. The tests have been made possible through the financial support of individual, business and community donors.
Participation in the screenings grows substantially each year, Anderson said. “At the 2008 conference more than 70 blood screenings were performed, until the screening kit supply was exhausted. Fifty percent of those tested had elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Over 125 blood pressure checks were completed; of those, more than 25 percent were abnormal.”
Those individuals were referred to their health care providers to receive follow-up care, Anderson noted.
One of the people tested in 2008 said, “It is great that ISU Extension offers this service at this event. I wouldn’t have done this otherwise. … I plan to make a follow-up appointment as a result of this screening.”
Anderson seconded that sentiment. “Many farmers have told us they wouldn’t normally have sought out this treatment on their own. Having the screenings at a venue they are attending is not only convenient, but potentially life-saving.”
An addition this year is DermaScan viewing and skin cancer screening, Anderson continued. The device uses ultraviolet light to show sun damage on a person’s face that is invisible to the naked human eye.
The Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference is cosponsored by ISU Extension, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council and John Deere Ottumwa Works. For more information about the conference, contact the ISU Extension office in Jefferson County, (641) 472-4166.