Rep. Mina Morita's Blog


CPPW – Hanalei Relay For Life

Posted in Events,Health by Mina Morita on June 7, 2010

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, I attended a workshop in San Diego related to an initiative called Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) which I blogged about several weeks ago.  Part of my assignment at the workshop was to attend the media training sessions to be an effective spokesperson.  One of the assignments was to come up with a succinct message diamond, three sentences that capture what we are suppose to be doing:

Good health is essential to quality of life. Communities Putting Prevention to Work links and empowers communities throughout the nation with local solutions to prevent disease and illness from tobacco use and obesity. Thriving communities begin with good and affordable access to healthy foods and physical activity as part of our daily routine.

It was a great workshop and I learned lots about strategies to change social norms.  Unfortunately, as soon as I got home I reverted back to my normal couch potato routine.  So much for the spokesperson who suppose to motivate people to take control of their life for the sake of good health!  But as I was sitting on my behind staring at the computer this morning, I heard this story on NPR’s Morning Edition.  Here is a portion of the transcript and here is the link where you can listen to the story or read the entire transcript.

Prof. BAUMAN: Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for death and for illness. It contributes to about one-sixth of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, about the same for diabetes, about 12 percent per fold(ph) in the elderly, and about a 10th of all breast cancer and colon cancer are attributable to being physically inactive.

SILBERNER: Bauman says getting people up and moving is more than about just motivating individuals. He says it’s going to take a coordinated effort, like the one that’s driven down smoking rates. And he says the payoff will be on a similar scale.

The gist of the interview was 100 years ago exercise was blended in our daily lives, through physical labor, housework, farming/gardening, hunting/gathering (food preparation in general) and minimal transportation options (we walked alot).  Today, all that is being asked is to get up and move for 30 minutes a day.

Can’t wrap my head around the 30 minutes a day yet but I will commit 12 hours on Saturday, June 12, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., to do the Hanalei Relay For Life at Waioli Park.  Prior to the Relay, I will be at Hanalei Center asking for donations to win a Zip & Dip Package for two donated by Princeville Ranch Adventures to support Team Roselani, and my former Kong Lung co-workers, Jenny Conley and Vanessa Fujiyama, both breast cancer survivors.  Breast cancer is my family’s nemesis.  My mother who is now deceased had breast cancer.  Two sisters and three sister-in-laws are breast cancer survivors.

I hope you will find these two recent stories inspirational to lend your support to the Hanalei Relay For Life.  One appeared in the Kauai People and the other I found as I was logging on to WordPress to blog.  Let me know if you want to donate to the drawing ($1.00 per entry) or please make a donation to Team Roselani.

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Malama i ke Ola

Posted in Health,Issues,Kauai,Sustainability by Mina Morita on March 23, 2010

One year ago who would have thought that when First Lady Michelle Obama made a public policy statement by planting a garden at the White House it would result in a significant initiative and investment to be made on Kauai and Maui.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced awards of more than $372 million to 44 communities to support health efforts to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity and improve nutrition. Thanks to the foresight and work of Dr. Dileep Bal, the Kauai Distric Health Directory, and his staff at the Kauai Office, Kauai and Maui District Health Offices were awarded a $3.4 million grant from the HHS “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” program. I was asked to be Chair of the Malama i ke Ola, the advisory leadership team to put this grant into action on Kauai and Maui.

At the media kick-off I shared a story with everyone. Last November, I participated in a meeting to plan an oral history project for Lanai’s pineapple plantation era. One of the participants was Judge Dean Del Rosario, whose father worked on the plantation’s newspaper and was a photographer. Judge Del Rosario brought with him a photo album that his father salvaged after Dole Plantation was closed, which contained photos of plantation life from the 30’s to 50’s. Aside from the numerous and varied community activities pictures, what impressed me the most was how fit and healthy everyone looked no matter what age or ethnic group. Yes, the work was hard, the pay low, and there was not the kind of civil rights or consumer luxuries we now take for granted.

But the plantation era lifestyle was one in which many people were physically active and relied on their ethnic diets. It was a time when backyard gardens were a norm, store bought meats and other proteins were an expensive luxury. Hunting and fishing not only supplemented household budgets, but also provided much needed recreational diversion. I personally feel it was a time of greater community participation and sense of involvement. Today, the unintended positive health consequences and sense of community of the plantation era are some of the outcomes we strive for in Malama i ke Ola.

Malama i ke Ola, Kauai and Maui’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work effort will be working to:

  • Raise residents’ knowledge and awareness of healthy eating and active living through multiple media venues.
  • Increase physical activity and improve nutrition for residents through social support, culturally appropriate education, and behavior change.
  • Create local infrastructure for production, distribution, and processing of locally grown agricultural products including links with schools, restaurants, and grocery stores.
  • Increase access to and consumption of local produce.
  • Restrict the availability of unhealthy foods in schools.
  • Promote healthy foods in grocery stores.
  • Improve active transport and public transportation infrastructure.