Tuesday | April 21, 2015
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Get Fit Hawaii

Get Fit Hawaii — a free 10-week Big Island challenge promoting healthy lifestyles and overall wellness — kicks off Sept. 10 with a broader reach than before.

Previously limited to about 200 people in North Hawaii, Get Fit Hawaii, now in its fifth year, has doubled its capacity and has expanded access to residents in North, South, East and West Hawaii with the hope of impacting more lives, said Robin Mullin, executive director of Five Mountains Hawaii, the program’s sponsor. Thanks to increased grant funding, donations, volunteers and sponsors, 500 people will have the opportunity to take the challenge this fall.

“The program has proven itself,” Mullin said, noting the increase follows requests from residents to hold the program islandwide. “There was a demand, there was a need and we felt we were in a strong enough position that we could really have the capacity to offer more.”

This year, the challenge offers participants in teams of four to 10 people helpful tools, resources, rewards and support to accomplish self-set goals. All participants can opt to receive free health screenings, advice, recipes, food and activity trackers, access to fitness activities, classes, webinars and more. Unlike prior years, Mullin said, participants are not required to undergo a health screening.

The Get Fit Hawaii challenge is funded in part by a $20,000 Hawaii Island Beacon Community’s Healthy Eating and Active Living project grant, and other grants, donations and local business sponsorships. It officially kicks off Sept. 10 and wraps up Nov. 16.

New to the Get Fit Hawaii program this year are weekly competitions with prizes and the option to join as an individual and participate in online teams, which Mullin explained will help people in rural areas participate more easily.

Though a 10-week program, Mullin said this year participants can opt to take part in the activities for five weeks. That is a new feature of the program, which Mullin said was opted for as a result of the post-program surveys.

“You can stop if you can’t do it long,” she said, noting that a half-time participant is still required to complete the post-program survey. “For some, 10 weeks may seem long, but some people may want to keep going.”

The predecessor to Get Fit Hawaii, “Take It Off Hawaii,” began in 2007 as a workplace weight-loss program primarily in East Hawaii, Mullin said. In 2008, Five Mountains Hawaii “fiscally” adopted the program and offered it to residents in East and North Hawaii for the next couple years.

In 2010, the program, because of reduced funding, was offered only in North Hawaii, she said. In 2011, again limited to North Hawaii, the program was held under the new name, Get Fit Hawaii.

Get Fit Hawaii, Mullin said, is a better reflection on the program’s goal of promoting “good nutrition, activity and stress resilience, which are very important to total wellness.”

“We wanted people to practice healthy lifestyles and wellness, not just focus on the weight loss,” she explained.

In 2011, there were were 240 participants, of whom about half completed the 10-week program, Mullin said. Participants reported losing a combined 229 pounds and 95 total inches, with an average weight loss per person of 2.5 pounds and 1.4 inches lost at the waist.

More than 46 percent of participants reported a drop in blood pressure, 86.5 percent said they were making healthier food choices and 60 percent said they increased physical activity as a result of the program, she said.

General registration and free health screening events around the island will be held from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1. Registration forms can be found online beginning Saturday.

One person from each team is also needed to be a leader, Mullin said.

North Hawaii team leader training sessions are slated from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sept. 8 at Tutu’s House in Waimea. A West Hawaii training session will be held from 1 to 3p.m. Aug. 25 at the Bakken Foundation Conference Room in the Kaloko Light Industrial Area. An East Hawaii training session will also be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Innovations Center on Keawe Street in Hilo.

For more information, call Five Mountains Hawaii at 887-1281, visit getfithawaii.org or email programs@fivemountainshawaii.org.

Here is a list of the free health screening/challenge registration events slated:

Aug. 27

c 1 to 5 p.m. at Tutu’s House in Waimea. Call 885-6777 for more information.

Aug. 28

c 8:30 a.m. to noon at Kaiser Clinic in Waimea. Call 881-4500 for more information.

Aug. 29

c 8:30 a.m. to noon at Kaiser Clinic in Waimea. Call 881-4500 for more information.

c 8:30 a.m. to noon at Kohala Hospital in Kapaau. Call 889-6211 for more information.

c 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Tutu’s House in Waimea. Call 885-6777 for more information.

Aug. 30

c 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamakua Health Center in Honokaa. Call 930-2746 for more information.

c 2 to 6 p.m. at Kohala Hospital in Kapaau. Call 889-6211 for more information.

Aug. 31

c 8:30 a.m. to noon at Kaiser Clinic in Waimea. Call 881-4500 for more information.

c 2 to 6 p.m. at the state Aging and Disability Resource Center conference room in Hilo. Call 961-8626 for more information.

Sept. 1

c 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at West Hawaii Community Health Center’s back meeting room. Call 326-3878 for more information.

Sept. 5

c 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. at Hamakua Health Center in Honokaa. Call 930-2746 for more information.