The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour stopped in eight Arkansas cities March 31-April 18 as part of a 10-month national mobile health testing tour to provide an expected $14 million in free health tests.
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The Wellness Tour health screeners performed 9,906 health tests on 1,690 consumers during stops at 15 Walgreens stores. The AARP/Walgreens bus stopped at four Walgreens stores in the northwest Arkansas cities of Rogers, Fayetteville and Fort Smith between March 31 and April 3. The bus spent April 7 to 18 in central Arkansas, where it stopped at 11 Walgreens stores in Hot Springs, Hot Springs Village, Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Sherwood.
Local AARP chapter members and volunteers also turned out at various stops to provide assistance and answer questions about AARP. The free tests—which include total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index—are valued at $100 per person and may help provide adults with a critical foundation for early disease detection and prevention.
“I feel privileged to come out and help the Wellness Tour,” said an AARP volunteer who attended one of the Fayetteville Walgreens store stops. “I care about my health, so why not help someone else care about theirs?”
Of those tested in the March 31-April 18 tour, 43 percent had high cholesterol, 71 percent had high blood pressure, 70 percent were overweight and 33 percent were obese. Additionally, 23 percent had no health insurance, 51 percent had high waist circumference and 68 percent had high body fat.
Visitors also had access to free educational information on a variety of health and wellness issues that were available in both English and Spanish. After the tests were performed, a Wellness Tour staff member instantly provided the results and reviewed them with the consumer. Consumers were encouraged to visit a doctor or health care provider with any concerns.
“There was a tremendous amount of AARP support on both the local and state levels,” said a Wellness Tour team member who participated in the Hot Springs and Hot Springs Village stops. “Many consumers who visited this week’s events were notified through an AARP-distributed flyer. There were also volunteers on site every day during the week.”
In addition to the free health tests, 511 free, one-year AARP memberships were collected during the stops. AARP memberships were offered to all adults who received tests. Participants younger than 50 could pass along a free membership to an eligible adult and existing AARP members received a free one-year extension on their current membership status.
“This is great what you are doing for me and everyone that comes out to visit the Wellness Bus,” said a consumer who was tested at one of the Little Rock Walgreens stores. “I am sure there has been more than one life saved because of the great work that you all do.”