Promotions begin for AHA Heart Walk
POSTED: Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The last time Marisa Kamai jumped rope was in elementary school some 10 years ago, but she managed 136 skips in one minute at yesterday's Heart Healthy Expo.
Co-sponsored by the Kamehameha Schools, the American Heart Association and health insurance provider UHA, Kamai won the jumping contest against other Kamehameha administration staffers at Kawaiahao Plaza courtyard.
Kamai, a program specialist and Kamehameha graduate, attributed her performance to hiking and her schooling.
"I had a really good PE teacher in elementary school," she said. "And jump rope for heart was a huge part of the curriculum."
Native Hawaiians are particularly vulnerable to heart disease, which kills more of that ethnic group than any other in the state, said Ann Botticelli, Kamehameha spokeswoman and co-chairwoman of the upcoming AHA Heart Walk on Oahu Aug. 1.
The expo culminated with Kamehameha Chief Executive Officer Dee Jay Mailer leading employees in a 30-minute walk to Restaurant Row and back. To encourage others to get regular exercise, the walk is scheduled every Tuesday and Thursday this month.
Thirty minutes of daily exercise is one of the essential components for a healthy heart, said Kaiulani Odom, a dietitian specializing in native Hawaiian health who is working with Kamehameha Schools.
"Instead of reaching for the chips and caffeine every afternoon, we recommend that you get away from your desk, and walk around," she said.
On display at the expo was a table laden with test tubes of body fat corresponding to favorite fast-food items, like chili (20 grams for an eight-ounce size); a sausage/egg biscuit sandwich (35 grams); a taco salad (61 grams).
In comparison, foods that indigenous Hawaiians ate—like poi, ahi and squid—each barely filled a teaspoon, Odom pointed out.
"You have to re-prioritize what's important in your life," she said. "Most families eat out five or six times a week, and they're teaching their children to eat that way. It takes more time and effort (to prepare healthy food) but I believe our bodies are worth it."
Odom suggested assembling ingredients to fill a crockpot before work, "so you can come home to a hot meal," instead of stopping at a fast-food drive-in.
Cooking fresh meals also supports local farmers and fishermen and the concept of sustainability, instead of eating foods transported from the mainland, she added.
16th Annual Oahu Start! Heart Walk Fundraiser
» What: 1-mile noncompetitive walk around Kapiolani Park from the bandstand, or 4.5-mile walk around Diamond Head
» When: 7:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 1
» Why: Sponsoring teams/companies and donors needed to fund American Heart Association programs