Get Fit Kauai and the pursuit of quality of life

If you think Kauai doesn’t need Get Fit Kauai, think again.

Not only does Kauai need this organization that promotes healthy eating and active living, the U.S. needs it. And for that matter, so does the world.

Here, in summary, is why.

• Excessive weight, obesity, aging and population growth drove a huge increase in worldwide cases of diabetes over the last quarter-century, affecting 422 million people in 2014, according to the World Health Organization. The number of adults worldwide with diabetes has quadrupled in the past 35 years, a new report shows. In the “Global Report on Diabetes,” WHO says diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012, and another 2.2 million deaths were caused by higher-than-optimal blood glucose levels, by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases. The price tag for treating and managing the disease and its complications now totals $825 billion a year, the report found.

• The U.S. has 78 million obese adults, the highest number of any country in the world. Nearly three-quarters of American men and more than 60 percent of women are obese or overweight. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. children and teens are either obese or overweight, up from 19 percent in 1980.

• People who consume a lot of processed carbohydrates — think snack foods and sweets — and sugary drinks may face heightened risks of breast and prostate cancers, a new study suggests.

• About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year — that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

OK. That’s enough depressing news about the health of America. You get the point.

Here’s the good news. A solution, a way to improve, isn’t rocket science. It’s not something that takes lots of money. It doesn’t even require a gym membership. It does take a bit of discipline, dedication and determination.

Get Fit Kauai knows the answer.

Its mission statement is perfectly clear: “Our mission is to improve the quality of life of the residents and visitors of Kauai County by working to promote opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy foods.”

Simple enough.

What it takes is a willingness to exercise, reduce junk food in your diet, and try to get more sleep.

Now, that’s the short version, but bottom line, it will take a few lifestyle changes. We’re talking about riding a bike, walking, running or swimming, any activity that gets you moving, for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. We’re talking about cutting back on pop and instead drink water. We’re talking about ditching the chips and candy and instead adding fruits and vegetables. We’re talking about not watching so much TV and instead reading or spending time with friends. And giving up smoking would be a good idea, too.

Like we said, none of these changes are crazy costly. They won’t break the bank. It’s free to walk or swim. Water out of the faucet at home is inexpensive.

Fortunately, Kauai has Get Fit Kauai, led by Bev Brody, that’s been leading the way in this area since 2009. It’s long been promoting health at home, in the community, at schools and in the work place.

Its Worksite Wellness Challenge, going on now, sets the example of something that can have major impacts without major hassles and is actually fun, too.

We congratulate Bev Brody and Get Fit Kauai for their success and encourage this group to continue to set the pace for our community. And we encourage folks to join in and enjoy the benefits of good health. Be active, eat well, laugh and smile. Follow your passion. You’ll feel better, and you’ll save money. That sounds almost too good to be true. It’s not. But it is up to you.

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