PORTLAND — The Maine Association of Naturopathic Doctors will offer free health screenings and educational workshops in Portland, Topsham, and Waterville on Saturday, April 9.
Geared toward teenagers and their families, the clinics will cover height, weight, blood pressure, body mass index, blood sugar, and possible other health checks. Information will be available to take home on how nutrition can be used to optimize growth, performance and health, as well as preventing illness.
The workshops run from 10 a.m.-noon at the office of Dr. Richard Maurer, 50 Cove St.,Portland; Northern Sun Family Health Care, 53 Main St., Topsham, and New England Naturopathic Health, 179 Main St., Waterville.
Registration is not required. More information is available by calling 200-4085 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for Portland, 798-3993 or email@example.com for Topsham, and 873-9380 or firstname.lastname@example.org for Waterville.
“Naturopathic doctors are primary care doctors, and we are trained at four-year naturopathic medical schools,”Sarah Ackerly, a naturopathic doctor at Northern Sun Family Health Care, said in an interview last week.
NDs in Maine must graduate from a federally accredited naturopathic medical school in order to be licensed, she said.
“We’re different from conventional medical doctors in that we get significantly more background in preventive medicine and in nutrition,” Ackerly explained. “Nutrition is really a cornerstone of what we focus on.”
Most medications NDs prescribe are naturally derived, she added.
“Typically our visits are somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half,” Ackerly said. “We take time to be able to listen to our patients, to answer questions, and discuss the options so people are then empowered to take control of their health.”
Teenagers are the focus at April 9’s sessions, because “we have an epidemic here in Maine, where 30 percent of our young people between the ages of 10 and 18 are overweight and obese,” she said.
More than a third of obese teenagers have metabolic syndrome, which the Maine NDs website describes as “a clustering of risk factors that put them on the path toward heart disease and diabetes.”
Fewer than 20 percent of high school students in the state consume the number of vegetables and fruits they need to have a healthy diet, the website adds.
“We wanted to come up with something where we could make a difference,” Ackerly said.