Cigna Sunday Streets offers free health screenings, promotes activity
Houstonians can get a free health screening and enjoy biking, walking and playing on the Near Northside street that is normally open for automobile traffic.
The first Cigna Sunday Streets event this fall is slated for noon-4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, and will close down Irvington Boulevard in between Bigelow and Cavalcade streets.
Parked at 3719 Irvington Blvd., Cigna’s Health Improvement Tour mobile van will provide residents with a free biometric screening that will give them four key health numbers, body mass index (BMI), blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, which Cigna Community Engagement Lead Paula McHam said are commonly associated with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
“Knowing your numbers can help you understand if you might be at risk for one of these conditions, and a health professional can talk to you about what your next steps should be,” McHam said.
She added that a lot of people who go through the screening get positive news and that knowing their numbers gives them power by letting them know whether they should stay on track with their health or make some changes to improve it.
Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros represents District H and plans to be on hand to get screened herself.
“I hope to show my constituents how quick and painless it is to get yourself checked and the importance of knowing your numbers,” she said. “Everyone should get checked annually, but if they have missed an appointment, Sunday is the perfect time to catch up and get an update on some important health stats.”
McHam said obesity is one of the major health concern Cigna hopes to educate Houstonians about at the event.
“Obesity is a significant public health issue in the Houston area. In fact, it’s the most common chronic condition in our community,” she said. “About a third of adults in Houston are obese. That’s alarming because obese men are seven times as likely to develop diabetes, while obese women are 12 times as likely.”
McHam said some ways people can improve their health numbers include adding in more physical activity through walking, riding a bike, swimming or other exercise, eating well and staying at a healthy weight.
The Cigna Sunday Streets started in Houston in April 2014, and each year three sites are chosen for both the spring and fall seasons. McHam said typically around 20,000 Houstonians come out to enjoy each event.
“Cigna Sunday Streets is a wonderful event that encourages the people of Greater Houston to get active, explore different neighborhoods and discover new shops and businesses,” she said. “With the streets closed to automobile traffic on a Sunday afternoon, Cigna Sunday Streets creates a safe and pleasant environment for people to enjoy walking, biking and meeting up with friends and neighbors.”
Cisneros said she is looking forward to how the event will encourage Houstonians to have healthy lives while also promoting community involvement.
“The Cigna Sunday Streets event promotes healthy lifestyles, physical activity and community engagement, and as the city council member for District H, walkability and bike-ability have been high on my priority list,” she said. “I am thrilled to welcome Cigna Sunday Streets back to the Northside. Houston still has some work to do in our quest to be known as a pedestrian or bicyclist-friendly city, and it is events like Cigna Sunday Streets that are helping to change that perspective.”