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Community Health Centers and Boston Moves For Health Promote Fitness and Better Health with Flash Mob Walk, Zumba Class on City Hall Plaza

4-2-13 Feature Story:

Government Center - In an effort to highlight the importance of health and fitness during National Public Health Week, more than 100 staff and patients from local community health centers joined Boston Moves For Health in a walk from the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway through Faneuil Hall to Government Center on Tuesday, April 2. Led by a drum corps and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the call, Join The Movement: Take a Step to Better Health, the walk culminated with an instructor-led Zumba class on City Hall Plaza.

Participants encouraged onlookers to make a commitment to improving their general fitness and to taking better charge of their overall health by actively working with their primary care provider to establish long-term health goals. The group also promoted the use of community health centers, which provide high quality, locally-accessible care that is focused on meeting the full range of patients' health needs.

"Health centers not only work to prevent illness and treat the primary care needs of their patients, they also assist them with lifestyle issues that ultimately impact their health and well-being - like nutrition and fitness," said Michael Conley, a clinical pharmacist and health educator from Neponset Health Center in Dorchester, one of the state's 49 community health centers which serve more than 800,000 residents statewide.

Community health centers provide primary, preventive and dental care, as well as mental health, substance abuse and other community-based services to anyone in need regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Patients can make appointments with dentists and optometrists as well as talk to a mental health counselor, nutritionist or nurse health educator. Many also have on-site pharmacies, mammography and other screening services as well as urgent care centers which can serve patients more quickly when they are sick. And for those living with a chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or depression, health centers have nationally-recognized programs that can help them better manage their illnesses.

Boston Moves For Health is an ambitious campaign launched by Mayor Thomas M. Menino in April 2012 to improve the health and fitness of the city of Boston. As part of the initiative, the mayor has challenged residents to lose one million pounds and move (walk, run, hop, swim, skip) 10 million miles. Several of the city's community health centers are participating in the initiative.

For more information about taking charge of your health go to, www.JoTheMo.org.

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