Maui County, Hawaii
“I FIND THAT THE KIDS ARE SUPER EXCITED TO COME INTO THE GARDEN, VERY CURIOUS, AND SOME ARE ALREADY QUITE KNOWLEDGEABLE. THEY LOVE TO EAT WHAT THEY GROW ON THE DAYS THAT WE HARVEST.”
— Robin Imonti, Coordinator, Haiku Elementary School Garden
For more information, please visit
“WE WILL ALL BENEFIT FROM LEARNING TO GROW OUR OWN FOOD.”
— Amanda, Maui resident
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
Maui County, Hawaii, is tackling obesity throughout the community. Home to 154,834 residents, Maui County is designated as a medically underserved area. Approximately 27% of adults in Maui County are obese, which is greater than the adult obesity rate for the state of Hawaii. An additional 35.9% of Maui County adults are overweight. Native Hawaiians are affected disproportionately by obesity, with 35% of the state's indigenous adults qualifying as obese. Obesity is also a challenge for Hawaii's youth, as the percentage of overweight or obese children aged 10-17 years has grown since 2003 to 28.5%. Only about half of adults in Maui County meet the Federal government's recommended levels for weekly physical activity. Further, more than a quarter of Maui adults have hypertension and more than 33% have high cholesterol. In addition to obesity-prevention efforts aimed at the community's entire population, certain initiatives target indigenous groups.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, Maui County has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, Maui County:
- Developed trail systems to improve active transportation infrastructure and access to safe and attractive places for physical activity.
- Encouraged increased promotion of healthy foods at grocery stores, government snack shops, and fast food chains.
- Initiated efforts to establish community gardens throughout the county to provide residents with physical activity and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Launched an initiative to build canoes that accommodate residents of all sizes. This will provide a physical activity option that would otherwise be unavailable to overweight and obese residents.
- Established school gardens to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students.
- Developed a Facebook page that communicates relevant news and events about physical activity and nutrition to Maui residents.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
Maui County has partnered with local organizations to ensure that physical activity is a part of community events. For example, Hawaii's Community Work Day Program incorporated physical activity into clean-up efforts. Other projects include creating a community garden at the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, which will produce organic fruits and vegetables. The center also provides a new physical activity option for shelter residents.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of Maui County's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- Office of the Mayor, County of Maui
- Agency for Elderly Affairs, Kauai County
- Hawaii State Department of Education, Kauai County
- Hawaii State Legislature
- Kauai Community College
- Kauai District Health Office
- Kauai Path
- Malama Kauai
- Maui County Council
- Maui District Health Office
- Wilcox Health System
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