Diabetes awareness expo held at Wilcox

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Zylee Morita spins the blender bike for a berry shake while her family watches Saturday during the Wilcox Health diabetes awareness expo at the hospital’s lobby and conference rooms.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A passerby snitches a grape snack as Mariah Ecker, an intern from Iowa State University, answers questions before an offering of colorful food snacks Saturday during the Wilcox Health diabetes awareness event at the hospital’s lobby and conference rooms.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Logan Campbell is focused on the developing spinach shake as he spins the blender bike Saturday during the Wilcox Health diabetes awareness event at the Wilcox Health lobby.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A stand-up paddleboard, when not in the surf line, is considered a vessel, said Jim Jung of the Kauai Lifeguard Association during Saturday’s Wilcox Health diabetes awareness expo. He shows a life jacket, wearable as a fanny pack, that makes SUP paddlers compliant with U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

LIHUE — Reducing the risk of diabetes does not necessarily need to be painful was the message being spread Saturday during the Super Keiki Day + Diabetes 101 = A Diabetes Awareness Expo for the Entire Family.

“Wellness is not drowning,” said Jim Jung, volunteering to man the Kauai Lifeguard Association table, one of several dealing with information for health and wellness. “Do you realize that a stand-up paddleboard, when not in the surf line (like those on Wailua River), is considered a vessel? The paddler needs to have a life jacket to be compliant with the U.S. Coast Guard regulations.”

He was showing off a life jacket which SUP paddlers could wear as a fanny pack when outside the surf line. The jacket compresses to fit inside a compact belt, and when needed, unfolds to become a functional CO2 inflatable jacket.

Those were just some of the demonstrations that greeted more than a hundred people who availed themselves to exercise demonstrations, information, recipes and more on healthier lifestyle options to reduce the risk of diabetes.

“We were a little slow on pre-registrations,” said Karen Silver, the Wilcox Health event coordinator. “But we had more than a hundred people show up, a lot of them having pre-diabetes, or at risk of developing pre-diabetes.”

Kauai Community College nursing students, with the help of Wilcox Health personnel, hosted free diabetes risk screenings in one of the conference rooms.

The other room was used for informational presentations on “How to Prevent Diabetes” and “Menu Makeovers” for reducing the risk of diabetes.

Mariah Ecker, an intern with Iowa State University who is living on Kauai, presented the “Eat A Rainbow” display on how the different naturally colored fruits and vegetables aid the human body in its work.

“I enjoy doing this a lot more than clinicals,” Ecker said. “I’m working with the Kauai Independent Food Bank to do a survey on the seniors and nutrition. Eventually, I would like to see more education on nutrition and food get out into the community.”

She was keeping an eye on her display while answering questions and keeping an eye on a youngster grabbing bites of grapes like a little bird flitting by.

“Do you realize that people on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can use their card to buy seeds?” asked Laura Kawamura of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Cooperative Extension Service. “People on SNAP can now not only buy fruits and vegetables, they are able to grow their own healthy foods, and it all starts with The Garden Island.”

Kawamura used strips cut from used copies of TGI to create biodegradable pots in which people could plant seeds, then eventually plant the seedlings into their home garden, pots and all.

“I’ll be doing something else at the Garden Fair which comes up April 7 at the Kauai Community College,” Kawamura said. “I don’t know what we’ll be doing, yet, but I’ll be there.”

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