Fun 5

Posted by Kahoomiki on March 9th, 2011


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Fun 5 is a physical activity and nutrition program that was created and funded by HMSA in 2003 as a childhood obesity prevention program.  In 2003, Fun 5 was piloted in 13 A+ afterschool programs in Hawaiʻi, showing a significant difference in the level of physical activity among the afterschool sites running the program.  Nowadays, Fun 5 is being implemented in over 170 afterschool programs impacting more than 18,000 kids statewide.  Accordingly to the National Institutes of Health Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.Immediate health effects:

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6 One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Children who are obese or overweight are at risk for facing serious health consequences as well as a number of socioeconomic consequences (e.g., suboptimal school performance, social stigmatization, the potential for decreased productivity across the life course, and high health care costs).

Forming healthy habits early in life may help kids avoid health problems associated with obesity. HMSA has partnered with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi to develop Fun 5, a physical activity and nutrition program for kids.

Fun 5 is designed for elementary school kids at all skill levels and is easily incorporated into the A+ afterschool program or elementary school classes.

Fun 5:

  • Encourages kids to exercise five days a week and consume five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Is designed to be fun to help kids form positive ideas about healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Is noncompetitive, so that all participants can enjoy their success.

Fun 5 components include:

  • Training workshops and follow-up by certified SPARK trainers.
  • Ready-to-use, easy-to-implement activities and lesson plans.
  • SPARK (Sports, Play & Active Recreation for Kids) activities developed by San Diego State University.
  • Colorful, kid-friendly sports equipment.
  • Ongoing evaluations to document success.