Healthier food options are now being offered at several state cafeterias and snack shops across Oahu as part of a new state worksite wellness initiative.
Choose Healthy Now also features specialized labels that rank food and beverage options in terms of nutritional value.
“People who work in government buildings on Oahu will have the option of having healthier choices using traffic light symbol — green for go, yellow for go slow, and red for uh-oh,” said Lola Irvin, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division.
Eleven blind vendors in the state Hoopono Vending Program volunteered to pilot this new program in their shops, including Norman Ota. “As far as snacks and such, I decided to participate believing it might be a good idea to have healthier options,” he said.
“When the point of decision-making comes, people will be able to discern the difference between those items that are healthy and those items that have higher levels of… sodium, sugar and fat,” Irvin said.
The program is a joint initiative between the state departments of Health and Human Services.
Officials said the program will expand to other sites as more vendors volunteer to join the program.
The state spends $470 million a year on obesity-related medical costs and $770 million on diabetes-related medical costs, officials said.
Without effective interventions, half of adults in Hawaii are projected to be obese by the year 2030, they added.