The importance of healthy habits and sound nutrition will take center stage Monday, June 24, in Newman, when the West Side Health Care Advisory Task Force hosts its 11th annual Healthy Choices summit.

The event is open to the public free of charge, and includes health screenings, a box lunch, information from resource providers and a featured speaker - all sharing the common theme of promoting good health.

It begins at 4:30 p.m. and continues until approximately 6:30.

The summit is part of the coalition’s “Healthy Choices for Our West Side” initiative, which promotes the importance of positive lifestyle choices in maintaining good health.

“The task force has advocated for a lot of services in this area and has been successful with that, but we also have the second focus on what to do to stay healthy,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, who chairs the group. “The theme of this summit is the importance of diet and exercise.”

The task force sponsors a number of healthy lifestyle programs geared toward schools and children to help instill healthy habits at an early age, DeMartini noted. The summit is geared more toward the adult population of West Side communities.

“We talk about how to live a healthier lifestyle and how to stay out of the emergency room,” he told Mattos Newspapers.

Lani Dickinson, chief executive officer of Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, will be the keynote speaker.

Blood pressure checks will be provided and a mobile mammogram unit will be on hand, DeMartini told Mattos Newspapers.

“It is kind of like a community health fair,” he commented. “It is free, and includes a box lunch. We encourage people to attend.

The event will start with the weigh-in for the annual “Biggest Loser” weight loss challenge. Teams of five to 10 people will compete in the eight-week challenge, with the winner determined at an Aug. 19 weigh-out in Gustine. Challenge registration closed earlier this week.

The weigh-in begins at 4:30 p.m. in front of the West Side Theatre.

The summit program will follow in the theatre.

The task force is a coalition of city and school officials from Gustine, Newman and Patterson, representatives of Stanislaus and Merced counties and leaders of regional health care providers who share the dual goals of enhancing services on the West Side and promoting healthy lifestyle habits.