NBC Health and Fitness Expo

19 Mar

IMG_2239[1]Bright and early Sunday morning, Stefano was feeling miraculously better and we decided to head over and get a glimpse of the big expo that was being put on by NBC. We walked over to the DC Convention Center and were impressed by the sheer size of the expo – the floor was filled with booths, stages, and demos – it was a little overwhelming!

We didn’t really have a game plan in mind so we just spent a little while walking around and trying to get our bearings. Aside from the massive number of booths promoting their products, some not even related to health (seriously, gutter cleaners?), they had stages set up with fitness demos.

This Zumba stage filled up shortly after I took this picture - it was packed!

This Zumba stage filled up shortly after I took this picture – it was packed!

One of my favorite parts of the expo were the wide range of activities set up for children.

The Marine Corps Marathon children's obstacle course.

The Marine Corps Marathon children’s obstacle course.

In the age of iPads, I think any excuse for kids to get out and move around is a good one.

IMG_2242[1]I also really appreciated the fact that they had so many different kinds of activities. There was a little something for everyone!

IMG_2253[1]Aside from the fitness demos, my favorite part about the expo was the wide range of free screenings and tests. For people who don’t have health insurance, these are often screenings that slip under the radar until a health problem creeps up, which ends up being too late for many people. The available screenings ran the gamut, from glaucoma tests to screenings for kidney disease.

Stef and I were stopped by the local fire department which had, among other things, a booth set up for blood pressure and blood glucose tests. Having nothing better to do, we obliged and each submitted to both tests. I always get my blood pressure taken at the doctor, but a blood glucose test is something I had yet to try. For an official screening you are supposed to fast beforehand, the reason being that the consumption of food beforehand raises your blood sugar to non-resting levels. However, they can also conduct random screenings, where you may have eaten anytime in the last 8-12 hours. We had just eaten breakfast, but we gave it a go anyway.


All they do is prick your finger and insert the blood sample into a machine which automatically screens the glucose levels.

IMG_2246[1]I am sure you all have seen a sphygmomanometer before, but I bet you didn’t know that was what it was called! Try saying that five times fast 😉

Matching pricked fingers

Matching pricked fingers

After they did both our tests, they gave us each a little pamphlet with records of the test results.

IMG_2247[1]Not too shabby! Apparently, anything under 140 is normal for “random” glucose tests. The fireman said I was the picture of health!

Almost immediately after getting over the finger prick (it’s amazing how painful those are given how quickly it happens!), we happened upon the blood mobile.

IMG_2249[1]Back in Seattle I donated blood on a very regular basis, but I fell off the wagon after moving to Italy and haven’t donated since. It was time to change that! Stef and I both began to fill out the necessary forms until we realized that it probably wasn’t a good idea for Stef to donate, considering he was throwing his guts up just the night before. I took one for the team!


Stef really needs to work on his photography skills.

I was a little nervous going into the screening because I regularly get turned away for low blood pressure or iron levels that aren’t quite high enough. Luckily, I was one point over the cut-off on iron levels and my blood pressure was 97/64 – good to go! I won’t lie that one of my favorite parts of donating blood is getting to snack on all the yummy treats and juice they have for you afterwards.

snacksWe hurried through the rest of the expo pretty quickly because it was getting to be lunchtime and frankly, the sheer number of booths was overwhelming. I am glad we got to visit and get a peek at what it was all about. If, for some reason, NBC manages to find my little corner of the internet, here’s my feedback about the experience:

What I Liked:

  • The fitness demos and activities for kids (inspire them to get moving so they don’t spend all day on the couch in front of a screen).
  • The free health screenings. Seriously, this is absolutely wonderful because so many people cannot afford to get essential tests done and wait until the consequences are unavoidable.
  • The relevant booths. One of my favorites was a booth that had a variety of different foods and showed you their corresponding portion sizes. Another showed you 100 calories worth of popular healthy and junk foods, just so people could see the vast differences.
  • The blood mobile. Though I do donate blood, I never would have sought out a blood drive myself. Because it was right in front of me, I couldn’t say no!

What I Would Change:

  • The size. Simply put, it was too big. There were too many things and I felt lost, even with the map.
  • Filler booths. These are the booths that really have no relevance to health or fitness, but were clearly a money grab. I was not a fan. It cluttered the place and diluted the authenticity of the event.
  • Health forums – or rather, lack thereof. While they did have a few health forums, many of them were shortened and I didn’t feel like there were enough people talk about Health and Fitness 101 – the basics that so many people don’t know and can make the biggest difference.

Going to the expo definitely piqued my interest for visiting other health conferences and expos – I feel like there is so much to learn and I am all about learning the new nutrition or health news that keeps coming out. The nice thing is this was free and open to the public and I think that accessibility is so important for things like nutrition and fitness. If we only reserve conferences and expos to those who are spending money on bibs or entrance fees, we really aren’t targeting those who need it most.

Food For Thought: DMV-ers, did you make it to the expo? What did you think? To all readers: have you ever been to a similar event? Tell me about it!







9 Responses to “NBC Health and Fitness Expo”

  1. pickyrunner March 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Oreos… now that is my kind of expo. I’d be scared to get my sugar checked. I’m sure it would be through the roof. I don’t even care… I love my desserts too much 😉

  2. Aunt Rebecca March 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Just FYI… Those filler booths were probably their profit margin on the event, sadly. There aren’t many fire departments that can pony up a huge booth fee, so the businesses likely underwrote the event. Such is the world of non-profit, good-for-the-community haps.

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

      Yeah, definitely get that. They completely overwhelmed the event, though. If only health was made a priority and was accessible, regardless of funds…

  3. wickedhealthywashingtonian33 March 20, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    Hey girl! Love your expo recap and couldn’t agree more on a majority of your points. I randomly stumbled across this amazing panel discussion of people discussing Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative and was like- why did more people NOT know about this?! So yes, I agree that the forum aspect was definitely under utilized.

  4. bezzymates March 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Expo looks great. But a little overwhelming. I could see from your pictures that there was a lot to cover in a huge space.

  5. Jaunita March 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get
    four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way
    you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      Hi Jaunita! If you go to the bottom of one of those emails that you received, you can change your settings so you no longer get any emails when somebody comments on the post. I hope this helped!

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