Keiki Run For Fun And Fitness

The Hawaii 5210 Let’s Go! Keiki Run takes place Feb. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Neal Blaisdell Center, featuring a flat two-mile course for children age 12 and under and their families.

The fun run begins at 8:15 a.m., with participants taking off in three waves by age categories.

On the last wave, which is for preschoolers and strollers, members of the University of Hawaii women’s track team will escort the event’s littlest runners.

At the start line of last year's Hawaii 5210 Let's Go! Keiki Run | Photo from Hawaii 5210

At the start line of last year’s Hawaii 5210 Let’s Go! Keiki Run | Photo from Hawaii 5210

After the run, participants will be treated to a healthy breakfast, compliments of McDonald’s, Meadow Gold and the Junior League of Honolulu. There will be Tru-Moo chocolate milk, apple dippers, granola bars, bananas and bottled water. There also will be a tae kwon do demonstration, and a Hawaii 5210 dance taught by students from Kamehameha Schools. Finishers also receive a T-shirt and free entry to the Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run Expo that opens at 9 a.m.

Based at University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and led by Hawaii Initiative for Childhood Obe sity Research and Education (HICORE), Hawaii 5210 Let’s Go! is an initiative to promote healthy eating and active living. The numbers represent the recommended “5” servings of fruits, roots and vegetables; “2” hours or less of screen time per day, “1” hour of physical play per day and “0” sugary drinks for Hawaii’s keiki.

“We know that kids who eat more fruits and vegetables have a healthier weight, so we’re really trying to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, or at least try them for not just weight, but overall nutrition, because they’ve got a lot of micronu-trients as well and fiber,” says pediatrician May Okihiro, who also serves as director of HICORE and the Hawaii 5210 initiative.

“Also, we definitely rec-ognize the busy lives everybody leads, and that restaurants and fast-food establishments have to be part of the solution. So, we’re really encouraging businesses to come up with healthier options.”

As for watching TV and playing video games on any type of electronic device, including smartphones and tablets, Okihiro says parents really need to monitor how much screen time their kids are getting.

“The No. 1 problem is it’s a sedentary activity. Some sedentary activities are OK, but because those electronics are so engaging with kids, they can really make it so that all they want to do is sit there,” Okihiro explains. “The second thing is a lot of TV and some movies and other entertainment expose kids to a lot of media or advertising that may encourage unhealthy eating – so fast food, junk food, very sugary cereals that are heavily advertised during children TV shows.”

According to pediatrician Theresa Wee, we’re in a childhood obesity crisis situation in Hawaii and in the U.S. In her practice, she says she teaches 5210 with the understanding that it has to be a family effort.

“One in three children, as they enter kindergarten in Hawaii, are either obese or overweight,” she notes. “At every visit, I talk to parents about their child’s body mass index – where they are on the graph as far as normal weight. When you’re overweight, you become much more prone to chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, chronic heart disease, stroke and early death.

“Now, I’m seeing children and teenagers who have diabetes and hypertension. Thirty years ago, you never saw that.”

Wee also encourages families to take baby steps – stop drinking soda and replace it with water and milk, turn off the TV one hour earlier and replace it with a family activity, such as walking.

The Hawaii 5210 Let’s Go! Keiki Run is limited to 2,000 participants. Online registration for $22 has been extended to Feb. 5. After Feb. 5, people can still register in person at packet pick-up Saturday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Running Room (819 Kapahulu Ave.). Cost if registering at packet pick-up is $25. A portion of registration fees will go to public and private Hawaii schools to support physical education, physical activity and nutrition education programs. Last year, $22,000 was raised for Oahu preschool, elementary and middle schools.

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