Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 9:48 am | Fair 52º

 
 
 

Preschool Health Fair, Screenings Set for Friday

Health screenings and information will be provided to nearly 400 children and their parents attending state preschools in the Santa Barbara Elementary School District at a Health Fair from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Franklin Neighborhood Center.

The Santa Barbara County Education Office Health Linkages Program is bringing together staff from Santa Barbara County Public Health, Family Service Agency, Community Action Commission, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Cottage Hospital Parish Nurses, and representatives from Santa Barbara Elementary School District to take part.

Doctors, nurses, medical assistants and health advocates will provide vision, hearing, height and weight screenings. Volunteer dentists and hygienists will provide dental screening and fluoride varnish. Additional agencies will be on hand to answer questions and provide health and safety information.

Many professional organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend periodic health screenings for preschool children.

» Hearing is central to language development, communication, and learning. It is estimated that by school age new cases of permanent hearing loss occur in approximately six per 1,000 children. An estimated 35 percent of pre-school children experience repeated episodes of ear infections and intermittent hearing loss.

» Young children with vision problems often do not know that the way they see the world is not the way everyone sees it. Vision problems however, affect one in 20 preschoolers. Many abnormalities are treatable if discovered early, while left untreated they can lead to vision loss and blindness.

» Obesity has become a national nutritional concern among low-income pre school children. Among children two to five years old, the prevalence of obesity increased from 7.2 percent from 1988–1994 to 10.4 percent in 1999–2000.

» Dental disease is prevalent among young children, particularly those from lower socioeconomic populations; however, few preschool-aged children ever visit a dentist. Fluoride varnish has been found to be effective in preventing cavities in the primary teeth of young children.

“Early recognition of disease results in more effective treatment. This health fair will not only identify children with health concerns but will provide families with the resources to address specific and general health needs,” said County Superintendent Bill Cirone, whose office helps coordinate the program.

As further assistance, the Santa Barbara School Districts Healthy Start staff will offer case management assistance to each child at risk who needs a follow-up exam or treatment; Costco is providing backpacks with school supplies for the children; the Orfalea Fund s’COOL FOOD Initiative is providing “s’COOL FOOD” bags with good nutrition and physical activity information that will be given to all parents who attend; and Direct Relief International is providing family dental kits.

Further information is available by calling Georgene Lowe, Health Linkages coordinator, at the Santa Barbara County Education Office at 805.964.4710, ext. 4455.

Wendy Shelton represents the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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