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Women listen to inspirational message at Healthy Woman conference

By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 15, 2011 at 4:15 a.m.

Ali Vincent, left, winner of "The Biggest Loser" season five, signs her book, "Believe it, Be it," for Donna Foster, of El Campo, a fan of the show. Vincent spoke at DeTar Healthcare System's third annual Healthy Woman conference.

HEALTHY WOMEN STATISTICS

About 17 percent of women 18 years and older smoke.

About 36 percent of women 20 years and older are considered obese.

About 33 percent of women 20 years and older have hypertension.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov

One woman hugged Ali Vincent as if she were family.

Another anxiously held close to her chest a copy of Vincent's latest book.

"It's our favorite show," said Donna Foster, of El Campo.

More than 400 women attended DeTar Healthcare System's third annual Healthy Woman conference, in which Vincent, the first woman winner of the hit NBC weight loss show "The Biggest Loser," was the guest speaker.

The event at the Victoria Community Center rounds up local health-related businesses to serve in its fair, which is targeted toward women's health.

"Healthy Woman is a relationship that I love because it brings in ordinary women, just like myself, and gives them extraordinary opportunities," Vincent said.

Vincent was the winner of the show's fifth season after losing 112 pounds.

Now, Vincent has a book "Believe it, Be it," which is also the name of her nonprofit foundation used to stress the importance of overall wellness.

This year's event brought in a different age group, the younger women.

This just proves how the event is beginning to gain steam, said Judith Barefield, spokeswoman for DeTar.

"People are starting to hear more about Healthy Woman," Barefield said.

Paula Dixon, a 34-year-old from Victoria, was at the event with her mother Linda Garcia.

The two have been exercising regularly and are trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

On top of receiving brochures and information from booths, the two also looked forward to listening to what Vincent had to say.

Dixon said she feels better every day because she has shed 30 pounds

Her mother said she's trying to live a healthier lifestyle to stick around much longer.

"I have to be active to keep up with my grandsons," she said, laughing.

Dixon has 4-year-old twin boys.

Rachel Saucedo was at Healthy Woman for the first time and feels as if she has really missed out on the first two years.

Booths about nursing school, long-term health care, cosmetology, and weight-loss products were just a few of the vendors giving out free consultations and information.

"When you say healthy woman, it's not just physically, it's also mental," Saucedo said.

Saucedo's friend Heather Sanchez, said she felt the same way and was excited to hear what Vincent had to say about her weight loss journey.

Women who registered for the dinner had a chance to listen to Vincent speak about the journey.

"It really is about making one choice at a time, one moment at a time," Vincent said.

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