Learning together

Herald/CHRISTINA KRUSE - Jeff Spears of Troy helps his daughter Jada, 3, make a paper flower Sunday during the KidFest Health and Safety Fair at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. The event was hosted by Metroplex Health System.

Metroplex Health Systems will host the annual children’s health and wellness fair Sunday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

The event will mark the 25th year of KidFest, an event that provides local children and their families with food and entertainment — and more importantly — immunizations, health services and screenings.

“As the school year begins, children are going to need immunizations in order to enroll in school,” said Latoya Ellis, a Metroplex wellness coordinator. “Many parents in (the) community aren’t sure where these resources are, so we want to help provide them with those.”

This year, the event offers children immunizations, screenings for blood pressure, body mass index, height, weight and with other pediatric health services and information. More than 50 vendors are expected, which hospital officials called a “record-breaker.”

Ellis encouraged parents to get their children screened for blood pressure and body mass index, both of which can catch early warning signs of health problems later in life.

“Blood pressure can point to a lot of underlying health problems, which can be addressed if they are caught early,” she said. “Right now, childhood obesity is a growing concern, so the (BMI) screening is also very important.”

Metroplex will provide free health screenings for children, as well as 300 free school immunizations for qualifying children ages 0 to 18 on a first-come, first- served basis. The event also features games, food, music and other entertainment.

“Last year we had about 2,000 parents and children attend,” Ellis said. “We expect to have about the same turnout, if not more, this year.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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