Launched Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) island coalitions. As part of HIPHI’s new broader mission, we hired county coalition organizers throughout the state to work with their communities on a variety of projects, including greater access to healthy foods, advancing policy to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and built environment investments (bike lanes, complete streets, and safer roads.)
Raising the age to purchase or use tobacco and vape products effective January 1, 2016. Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to raise the legal age to sell or purchase tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) to 21. This was a crowning achievement for our public health community and could reap great rewards for the people of our state. According to the Surgeon General, 95 percent of all adult smokers start smoking before the age of 21. Delaying the age that youth begin using tobacco will reduce the risk that they will become regular smokers as they get older, leading to lower prevalence rates and saving millions of dollars in health care costs.
Choose Healthy Now signs first major statewide partner. Aloha Petroleum becomes the first convenience store chain to participate in Choose Healthy Now, a program of the Hawai‘i Department of Health and Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, to increase access to healthier food options. More than 100 Aloha Gas locations now prominently feature healthy food offerings throughout their stores.
Helped enact a physical exam requirement for seventh grade students. The new physical exam requirement will connect students and their families with a doctor at a critical time in a child’s development. In many cases, children were not being seen by a doctor since their entry into Kindergarten. The new requirement closes the gap, helping to diagnose health conditions prior to entry into the seventh grade… and giving parents time to correct dietary or other issues before its too late.
Kaua‘i County passes smoke-free vehicles ordinance. Joining Hawai‘i Island, Kau‘i County becomes the second county in the state to protect keiki from toxic secondhand smoke in vehicles. Science shows that, even with a window down, the air in a vehicle with secondhand smoke is 10 times as toxic as what the EPA considers unsafe to breathe.
Launched major branding initiative and world-class website. Throughout 2016, HIPHI underwent a major image overhaul and, in December, launched a new feature-rich website with a major focus on community. The new website connects people directly to the latest news and events for their island and even allows the public to submit health-related events to the site events calendar.
Program LAUNCH: Healthy Eating + Active Living
Formerly known as the Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalitions (NPAC), our new HEAL county coalitions are advocating for systemic changes necessary for Hawai‘i residents to participate in a lifestyle of healthy eating and active living. In 2006, Hawai‘i stakeholders from across the state convened and decided that county coalitions were necessary to reach the common goals of reducing overweight, obesity, and chronic disease among all Hawai‘i residents.
Our HEAL coalitions are working for a Hawai’i where all residents live in healthy communities, have access to healthy foods, and have safe streets and pathways for physical activity.
In 2016, our new HEAL staff helped promote and implement the Choose Healthy Now program as well as a number of other initiatives. Check out some of our blog updates on some of their work: