State unveils plan for a healthier Hawaii

The Hawaii Physical Activity and Nutrition Summit.

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Be ready to pay more for sugary drinks.

The bill may not have passed in the last legislative session, but the issue isn’t dead. It’s part of a plan to improve Hawaii’s health.

The Hawaii Physical Activity and Nutrition Summit brought leaders, health workers, and policy makers from all over the state to Waikiki to figure out how to get Hawaii healthier.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho spoke on healthy changes made on the Garden Isle from additional bike paths to local farmers markets that promote healthy eating.

The big news of the two-day summit was the unveiling of the state Department of Health seven-year Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan also known as the PAN Plan.

“We have 22 objectives. We know that obesity is an epidemic and we definitely need to something about that. We need to turn the tide,” State DOH director Loretta Fuddy said.

The plan sets a clear path for state, county, civil and businesses to partner up for a larger cause — reducing the rates of child and adult obesity along with diabetes.

“We spend $490 million on healthcare costs related to obesity and diabetes,” Fuddy said.

“Soda’s are the largest source of excess calories in our diets. With that, we’re literally drinking our diabetes,” Global Policy Solutions President and CEO Dr. Maya Rockeymoore said.

Dr. Rockeymoore is a national expert on public health and policy. She says while Hawaii did not pass a tax on surgery soda’s this legislative session, it is an idea that has worked on the mainland. So, expect it to resurface again.

“That tax didn’t pass here in Hawaii, but certainly it might be an important strategy for ensuring the health of Hawaiian population over the long-term,” Dr. Rockeymoore said.

For more information on the PAN Plan, visit this website.

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