A Look at The Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership

November 24, 2010, 9:56 AM HST · Updated November 24, 9:57 AM
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Photo Credit: scientificamerican.com

The Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership was established in 2003 in an effort to improve the overall health of the aging population in Hawaii. This organization was designed to promote healthy lifestyle habits, as well as inform the general public on the latest trends in health and disease prevention. We have the lowdown on the Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership to help you make the most of services available through this organization.

Why the Program Started

While the life expectancy on Hawaii is higher than any other state in the country, a larger proportion of elderly Hawaiian residents are reporting an increase in chronic diseases. This segment of the population has also been found to have poor diets and physical activity levels, which could contribute to the increase in chronic conditions as well as a lower quality of life overall. Researchers studying this segment of the Hawaiian population have found some alarming statistics in adults over the age of 60:

  • Nearly 60% have high blood pressure
  • Almost half are considered overweight or obese
  • Nearly 20% have been diagnosed with diabetes
  • More than 50% do not participate in the recommended minimum of daily activity
  • Nearly 66% do not eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily

In light of these statistics, health officials felt it was important to offer Hawaiians in this age demographic the information and support they require to live a healthier lifestyle well into their senior years of life. Thus, the Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership was born.

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What is Included in the Program

While the specific offerings of the partnership might vary periodically, current programs include an enhanced fitness exercise program and disease self-management classes. The fitness program is being offered on Kauai right now, and involves exercises to:

  • Work the cardiovascular system
  • Improve balance and flexibility
  • Build muscle strength

This program, like the others offered through the Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership, is evidence-based, meaning it has been thoroughly tested for its effectiveness in helping senior Hawaiians reach their health and fitness goals.

The other programs teach those with chronic diseases how to effectively manage their conditions at home. These courses, dubbed the Ke Ola Pono (living well) programs empower those with chronic diseases to take charge of their health and improve their quality of life. Courses are currently offered in general chronic disease management, which is appropriate for anyone with high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, asthma, heart disease or arthritis. Other classes are also available for those with diabetes or arthritis.

Maintaining good health has become much easier in Hawaii, thanks to the Hawaii Healthy Aging Partnership. For more information about the program, visit the Hawaii Department of Health’s website.

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