John A. Burns School of Medicine programs tackle childhood obesity

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Apr 6, 2010

Two organizations affiliated with the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at UH Mānoa have announced new initiatives to fight the epidemic of obesity throughout the state. The “Let’s Move Hawai‘i!” 2010 campaign is being launched in response to President and Mrs. Obama’s national “Let’s Move” campaign.
The Hawai‘i Initiative for Childhood Obesity Research and Education (HICORE) is leading a multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort in childhood obesity research and education.  Funded by the HMSA Foundation, the initiative is based at the JABSOM Department of Pediatrics in Kakaako.
The Hawai‘i Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition (NPAC) is housed at JABSOM’s Office of Public Health Studies, representing communities across the islands and advocating policies and initiatives that optimize good nutrition and physical activity. NPAC is led by Larry Bush, executive director of the YMCA of Honolulu, and Jennifer Dang, state director of the Nutrition & Physical Activity Coalition.
Two events are planned:
  • A childhood obesity conference, “Timely Topics in Pediatrics: Optimizing Child Health for the Future – Preventing and Managing Childhood Obesity,” will be held on Thursday, April 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Kāhala Hotel. The conference is for health-care providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, dieticians and nutritionists) but others may attend.  It is sponsored by HICORE, the American Academy of Pediatrics Hawai‘i Chapter and the Queen’s Medical Center. “Hawai‘i’s pediatric heath-care providers understand the gravity of the childhood obesity epidemic and the need for culturally appropriate and effective interventions.  This conference will give providers new skills and knowledge on how best to prevent and manage childhood obesity,” said May M. Okihiro, MD, assistant professor at JABSOM’s Department of Pediatrics and director of HICORE.                           For more information on the conference, contact Kathryn Sthay at 377-5738 or, or see the Hawai‘i American Academy of Pediatrics Web site at Registration deadline is Thursday, April 8. This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category Credit.
  • On Saturday, April 17, the YMCA of Honolulu is holding its 2nd Annual Healthy Kids Day at the Bishop Museum from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is being nationally coordinated with over 1,500 YMCAs from across the country celebrating health and wellness among youth.  Organizations from across the islands will take part, and there will be games, activities, entertainment, prizes and lots of good, healthy food.
In addition, NPAC Hawai‘i is compiling a community resource directory of all physical activity and nutrition programs available in Hawai‘i.  Individuals, organizations and businesses that provide services or programs in physical activity and nutrition may be listed in the directory by completing a short survey.  See the website at
Childhood obesity is epidemic in the United States, and data indicates that children in Hawai‘i may be at even higher risk for obesity. That is worrisome because Asians and Pacific Island adults are already at high risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other weight- and diet-related diseases.  “Too many of our family members are developing these chronic diseases in their youth and early adulthood,” said Dr. Okihiro, “and too many are becoming disabled or dying at ages when they should be enjoying life.”