A Healthier Hawaii

Tattoo and namasu: A cooking demonstration by the Kime Ka La High School volleyball team gave the crowd of 50 a chance to taste healthy food choices, as they prepared namasu, a light and colorful Japanese salad. The team is freshly back from a tournament on Big Island, where they placed first in the Women’s B-division.

The ho`olaule`a makes healthier choices easy to swallow.

By Brandon Roberts

Molokai was in for a nutritional treat when the Health Ho`olaule`a (celebration) came to the friendly isle last Saturday. Participants filled-up on snacks, informative booths, and energetic presentations.

Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) partnered up with Na Pu`uwai Native Hawaiian Health Care Center to host Molokai’s first free Health Ho`olaule`a on April 5 at the Kulana `Oiwi halau.

HMSA offers a variety of programs, services and support to help improve the health and well-being of our members and community, according to their Web site.

“We hope to promote health solutions,” said Aloha Kim, HMSA coordinator. “It is not just about eating healthy, but also living healthy.” This ho`olaule`a is part of the Eat Healthy campaign that kicked off earlier this year.

Community and State organizations set up tables so attendees could taste healthy food choices, as well as gather information on health and fitness services. Representatives from Molokai General Hospital were available to discuss a plethora of services, including Kukui Ahi, a local cancer treatment provider.

Kukui Ahi is a non-profit organization that is federally funded until 2010, but is currently seeking grants to establish a long-term cancer service here on the island. The program has been on Molokai for two years, focusing on patient navigation.

“We act as an extra family member,” said Lily Napoleon, a patient navigator who has been with the program since it was established on Molokai in 2006. A navigator assists cancer patients with a variety of needs, including care options and filling-out paperwork.

Across the halau, the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) was providing free blood pressure tests. MCHC is an outreach program that uses a sliding fee scale to “help people get the services they could not get elsewhere,” said Debora Eala, an outreach education worker. Eala is working closely with exiting Molokai Ranch employees to help with health insurance questions and individual needs.

Sheri Yamashita was the solo exercise booth at the ho`olaule`a. “Jazzercise is a fun, energetic way to stay fit, and it compliments HMSA’s promotion of a balanced living,” Yamashita said.

HMSA proposed an insurance rate increase of almost 13 percent, which is pending approval from the state Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt. If enacted, it will be the largest hike in 19 years and impact thousands of Hawaiian families and businesses.

HMSA, established in 1938, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and the largest heath insurance provider in the state. Over half of Hawaii’s population has HMSA for their health care coverage.


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