Posted by Kahoomiki on January 9th, 2013

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In 2001, the Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association (HMSA) Care Management department convened a panel of experts to provide insight and possible directions for areas of focus, particularly in addressing the epidemic of obesity. Their recommendations included weight management through increasing physical activity and better nutrition. The panel recommended the development of an intervention that included children — “start early before poor lifestyle behaviors are ingrained”. Accordingly, the University of Hawaiʻi and HMSA developed a program that would work with children in Hawaiʻi, utilizing the Sports Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) framework to provide a standards and research-based curriculum. Given the national emphasis on implementing “No Child Left Behind…” during the school day, it was determined that the DOE A+afterschool program provided the best opportunity for incorporating a new program, Fun 5, for Hawaiʻi keiki.

The initial pilot (2003) for Fun 5 was put together by HMSA Care Management staff, working closely with UH. The original vision was a concept and model that not only engaged school children in physical activity (PA), but also would win support from the community and the private sector, for a viable way to fund, sustain and expand a PA program.

After the success of the pilot, HMSA funded UH to do program implementation and operations in addition to evaluation for disseminating Fun 5 state-wide. In 2008, HMSA sought a community organization to provide a broader foundation of the program. With this arrangement, community and private sector support could be better obtained and the original concept and model of Fun 5 could be realised. Since 2008, Kahoʻomiki, Hawaiʻi’s Council of Physical Activity, has been managing the Fun 5 program.

Kahoʻomiki is a non-profit (501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and fighting the obesity epidemic in Hawaiʻi. Its mission is to actively support and encourage lifelong healthy lifestyles through physical activity, good nutrition, and community and social interaction, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Hawaiʻi residents. Its goals are to increase awareness of the social, health and community benefits of physical activity and healthy nutrition; present new and expanded opportunities for Kamaʻaina to enjoy a healthy diet along with physical activity and active recreation, and increase participation in physical activity among Hawaiʻi children, parents, seniors and the general population.

Under Kaho’omiki’s supervision, the Fun 5 program is conducted within A+ afterschool programs in more than 170 elementary schools statewide. A+ is an afterschool program of the Department of Education, and currently enrolls about 18,000 keiki in the schools serviced by Fun 5.