Diabetes fair delivers message: Beware of sugar

ANAHOLA — Sometimes, the people who need the information most are not able to access it, said Ron Margolis, president of the Rotary Club of Kauai.

The goal of the Anahola Diabetes Wellness Fair was to amass professionals who deal with diabetes and bring it to the people.

Collaborating with Norrisa Lyn Ahlgren, a certified diabetes educator with the Wilcox Health, and Danielle Hill, an aspiring CDE, Margolis and the Rotary Club of Kapaa and Wilcox Health brought the diabetes and wellness fair to the people of Anahola.

“Our purpose is to educate,” Margolis said. “If we get one, or two pre-diabetes individuals, we did good.”

Nearly 50 people, many Anahola residents, took advantage of the educational breakout sessions, free healthy food sampling, and browsing through vendor information at the Anahola Clubhouse.

“This is pretty good,” said Anahola resident Carol Lovell who stopped to sample the Healthy Saimin with Aunty Pua Flores.

Jakki Nelson, the community service director for the Kapaa Rotary, said “We’ve identified recipes which are specific to supporting the health of those at risk for diabetes. There are so many kinds of healthy brown rices which have a lower carb content than white rice.”

The saimin was among the sampling of meals and snacks in the healthy snack corner sponsored by the Kawakami family and the Menehune Mart stores.

“There has been a 117 percent increase in the last 10 years,” Ahlgren said. “This leads to 1 in 14 people in Hawaii who has diabetes.”

She said the fair allowed people hands-on interactive and tangible learning experiences.

The food sampling, as an example asks, “What Can I Eat?”

Jim Jung, a resident of Wailua, said he came to the fair because he saw Nicole Seivers on the agenda.

“I’m here because I got to know Nicole during the Breakfast Club,” Jung said, reviewing the binder of information while waiting on Seivers’ presentation on “The Fats of Life” which dealt with fats and sodium, sugar and spice — choices which make a difference.

Sean Chun attracted a large crowd, opening the session with Hawaiian medicinal herbs and healing.

Other speakers doing presentations included Dr. Black, Hill, Dr. Tyler Chihara, and Rose Murtagh.

Vendors joining the medical professionals included Malama Pono Health Services, Hoola Lahui who offered a hope necklace featuring beads to gauge lumps during a breast self-examination by women.

Kauapea Farm is an organic vegetable farm who accepts food stamps, Ahlgren said.

“Eventually, we want to be able to bring this to other communities,” Margolis said during a visit to the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital at the Kauai Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. “We’re looking at perhaps bringing this to the Kekaha-Waimea area, and this visit is to meet some of the KVMH people to set this up.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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