Program Promotes Active Living at Ha‘ikū Elementary
ʻOhana Health Plan, Inc., a WellCare Health Plans recently sponsored the Hawaiʻi 5210 Let’s Go! Program assemblies and installed a new water bottle filling station at Haʻikū Elementary School on Maui to help promote active living and healthy eating in Hawaiʻi schools.
According to program leaders, in Hawaiʻi, 26% of children ages 10 to 17 are considered overweight or obese. Nationwide, plan representatives note that children in the US have about five to seven hours of screen time a day, which includes engaging in television, smart phones, and video games, and this number continues to rise.
ʻOhana Health Plan has installed water stations and distributed water bottles at schools in Hawaiʻi throughout the past year to emphasize the importance of staying hydrated all day long. Consuming water can help manage calories, energize muscles, moisturize skin, maintain good kidney health and more.
During the assemblies, the Hawaiʻi 5210 team led fun, interactive health education activities with both students and staff, to promote exercise through dance. In order to effectively boost the students’ health, the program supports healthy lifestyles including eating five fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of screen time, having at least one hour of outdoor play, and no sugary drinks.
“When developing healthy habits, it’s important to start early,” said Dr. Edward Fess, senior medical director for ʻOhana Health Plan. “That’s why we’re proud to support the Hawaiʻi 5210 program because the health education it provides to elementary school students instills a commitment to healthy eating and exercise that will last a lifetime.”
The Hawaiʻi 5210 initiative is a joint project between the University of Hawaiʻi and the Department of Education. The initiative works to optimize awareness and action among Hawaiʻi’s children and their families.
“The water bottle filling stations help the schools to create healthy environments that promote water consumption by students and school staff throughout the school day,” said Dr. May Okihiro, pediatrician at the University of Hawaiʻi, John A. Burns School of Medicine and director of HICORE. “We think these environmental changes, along with health education and healthy beverage policies that we’re also promoting, will go a long way to support healthier choices.”