Minority Health

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Vernon Simons has been in the barber shop business for more than 30 years. Recently he was asked by the Winnebago County Health Department about putting in a blood pressure machine in his store. Vernon says people were skeptical at first, but now says it's become quite popular.

"When Mark approached me about it I was happy to get in here because it benefits me a business person and its also a great need for it in the neighborhood because high blood pressure and hypertension is one of the greatest killers."

Statistics show that African American males have the lowest life expectancy rate. That's why the Winnebago County Health Department is targeting black men to check their blood pressure by providing these machines within easy access at area barbershops, community and recreation centers.

The machines have a big success rate. In just two years - they've been used more than six-thousand times. The health department plans to put more machines around the city's Westside.