Hundreds of people showed up to the Howard University College of Medicine Sept. 5 for a special health screening hosted by daytime television talk show host Dr. Oz.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is on a tour around the country with dates in other cities such as Tampa and Pittsburgh, saying he wanted to get a feel for what was ailing people in each city and try to provide answers to those who could do something about it.

“We want you to realize that the temple of the soul is your body and it’s the most precious thing you’ve inherited,” he said. “So what we’re doing in 15 minutes is giving people clear ideas about their health and give them suggestions on what to do about it.”

After just a day on Howard’s campus, Oz said the major problem facing attendees was diabetes. Oz said that half of those screened had diabetes or pre-diabetes, but only about a tenth of those people knew. He said one woman’s story shows how little people knew about their health.

“Today, we had one 42-year-old woman with no health insurance and never had a check-up,” he said. “A healthy triglyceride level is below 150; she had a triglyceride level of 602. She basically had an oil slick inside of her body.”

The event was conducted with the help of Howard University’s College of Medicine. Medical students in the college conducted screenings, which included measuring belly fat, checking blood sugar levels and checking blood pressure.

After attendees had their screenings, they were given their health scores and then met with doctors from the College of Medicine for a consultation on what lifestyle changes, if any, they need to take to live a healthier lifestyle.

Oz implored attendees to share their health scores with their families and loved ones. He said the attendees should be able to lean on the people who are the most emotionally connected and who will help provide the tools to support them.

Attendees had to endure a long process to be seen. Many waited outside in the sweltering heat before entering the building. Once inside, they were registered and received a number before being seated in an auditorium until that number was called. Once their number was called, they were called out to the lobby area where they would wait until a station opened up for them to receive their screening.

As a treat, attendees were given a bottle of water and an apple when leaving the building.

One person who went through the process was 46-year-old Lanham resident Khaula Holness. She has no insurance, but wanted to get checked out because she said she had to be healthy for the young kids she cares for.

“I have a lot of pain and swelling in my joints as well as these constant headaches,” Holness said. “I’m 46 but I feel like I’m 146 and I just had to figure out why.”

Holness said she was told she needed further testing to see if she has rheumatoid arthritis, and she signed up for a follow-up.

Overall, Oz said that there was clearly an issue with obesity and related illnesses. He said he would share the data he received and make suggestions on how to encourage residents to eat healthier and become more active.

Click here to view videos from Dr. Oz’s visit to Howard University.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO