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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Christina O’Connor

Area Lawmaker Nudges Keiki To Healthy Start

In an effort to provide a one-stop shop of health and safety resources for area families, state Rep. Sharon Har will sponsor Keiki Wellness Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 15 in Kapolei High School cafetorium.

With various agencies on site that address a range of issues including healthy eating, bullying and drug resistance, the event promises to be a convenient place to access a breadth of information.

“In my conversations with families around West Oahu, there is a lot of interest in doing the right thing as parents by ensuring a healthy lifestyle for our children,” said Rep. Har, who represents District 42, which includes Kapolei and Makakilo.

“Parents are reliant on having extra time outside of their daily obligations (work, commuting, etc.) to access these resources. While long downtown commutes can consume up to three hours of a parent’s day, extra time is a valuable resource to often-tired parents,” Har said.

“Keiki Wellness Day is an opportunity for that time to be spent efficiently so that there is still time left to do all the other important things that a family should be doing together.”

Free health screenings, including blood pressure, will be available on site. Fitness assessments and nutritional education also will be offered. Customer service representatives from HMSA will answer questions. Other participants include the YMCA and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Part of what prompted Har to create the wellness day is the fact that Kapolei is comprised of a high number of youths. According to 2010 census information, 30 percent of Kapolei and Makakilo residents are under age 18. (Only 22 percent of Hawaii residents are under 18 statewide.)

The event may have been designed with her constituents in mind, but Har stresses that it’s open to everybody.

“As a state representative, I see the research and want to make sure our children get off to great starts,” she said. “Ensuring that our children learn what the correct choices are helps to avert problems that may be more costly and more difficult to treat in the future.”

Participating groups also will offer interactive entertainment and keiki activities.

Kama’aina Kids, for example, will run a Keiki Zone featuring games, temporary tattoos, and arts and crafts.

Mascots like McGruff the Crime Dog and Meadow Gold’s Lani Moo also will be wandering the grounds to interact with the children.

One of the highlights, according Har, will be Honolulu Fire Department’s Interactive Keiki Fire House, which offers hands-on safety information and demonstrations.

Har hopes the event also will bring awareness about a holistic approach to health.

“While health is important, wellness is an all-encompassing concept that also looks at the state of children,” Har said.

“While healthy children might be bullied, they are not well. That is why I believe that we need to take a broader approach to ensure that our keiki grow in a healthy and safe environment, and are armed with the necessary information so that they can make the right choices down the line.”

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