Get Fit Kaua‘i (Healthy Eating + Active Living) Coalition is a dynamic association of organizations, community people, and elected officials that have been committed to promoting physical activity and healthy eating on Kaua‘i since 1994.
Since establishing its Built Environment and Safe Routes to School Task Forces in 2009, Get Fit Kaua‘i has made tremendous strides in promoting physical activity through policy change, programs, and projects. The coalition has led successful advocacy efforts for three major policy changes, including: 1) a county Complete Streets resolution (2010); 2) a statewide Safe Routes to School Bill that allocates funding from speeding traffic violations to counties for Safe Routes to School efforts (2012); and 3) a county ordinance that requires sidewalks and shorter block lengths (2013).
The coalition continues to work closely with government agencies and policymakers to ensure accountability and that these policies are being implemented in a timely manner.
Get Fit Kaua‘i has also led Safe Routes to School programs in the county. The coalition recruited interested schools and helped them to organize monthly Walk to School Days. For the 2015-16 school year, a total of 3,393 children and 676 adults across five schools participated in Walk to School Days. The coalition has also partnered with the County Public Works Department to develop infrastructure improvement plans for participating schools, and several changes to improve the safety of crosswalks have been implemented.
Other notable accomplishments of Get Fit Kaua‘i are:
- organizing a worksite wellness challenge that encourages businesses to create policy and environmental changes to support physical activity and better nutrition;
- hosting an annual community celebration of the coastal path—over 1,300 people attended the 2016 Mayor-a-thon event and walked, jogged, or rode bicycles along the path; and
- creating the Mayor’s Walking Workbus, a lunchtime walking group with the Mayor.
Get Fit Kaua‘i is a model for how a community coalition can make meaningful changes to increase physical activity both through short-term (e.g. programs) and long-term (e.g. policy) strategies. Get Fit Kaua‘i has fostered multiple champions within the coalition, which helps to ensure that the work of the coalition is sustained at multiple layers of government and community functions.