DOH NEWS RELEASE: Department of Health, Castle Medical Center and First Lady Dawn Ige celebrate food day with pedal-powdered smoothies and taste testing

Posted on Oct 27, 2015 in Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases

HONOLULU – Hawaii State Department of Health and Castle Medical Center hosted an event today for hospital employees and patients to promote healthy eating in honor of Food Day. The event featured smoothies and other healthy food and drink items classified as “Green”—the healthiest category—according to the Department of Health’s Choose Healthy Now project. Castle has been implementing the project in its cafeteria, The Bistro, since August 2014.

First Lady Dawn Ige participated in today’s event to honor Castle for completing its first year with the Choose Healthy Now project. “Castle has taken incredible steps to increase consumer and employee access to healthy snacks and meals,” said First Lady Dawn Ige. “It is terrific to see a hospital promoting good nutrition through their concessions and prepared food.”

The state’s Choose Healthy Now project increases consumer access to healthy food and beverages and raises awareness by labeling food and drink items as healthy, moderately healthy, or less healthy—that is, Green (“Go!”), Yellow (“Slow”), or Red (“Uh-oh”). The labels provide visual cues to help consumers make healthier choices about the foods they eat.

Healthy eating was not the only cornerstone of today’s event. The smoothies featured in the taste test were powered through physical activity—that is, bike pedals powered by staff members which turn the blender used to make the smoothies. By doing this, Castle’s administration is reminding patients and employees that good nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle in terms of achieving weight loss and number of calories consumed versus expended—physical activity is also important for good long-term health.

“Health is our business,” said Kathy Raethel, President and CEO, Castle Medical Center. “As the premiere medical center serving Oahu’s windward side, it is our duty to provide healthy options for our patients and employees. We thank the First Lady and Department of Health for making this easier for us to do this through the Choose Healthy Now project.”

Choose Healthy Now began as a partnership between the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Ho’opono Vending Program. It launched in May 2014 with six snack shops in state and federal government buildings on Oahu, and is expanding to an additional 12 sites by January 2016. In August 2015, Aloha Petroleum became the first convenience store to adopt Choose Healthy Now.

Poor nutrition can lead to obesity and chronic disease. One in two adults in Hawaii is overweight or obese (55.4 percent), and three in four adults (76 percent) is living with at least one chronic disease or condition such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. In 2009, annual direct healthcare costs for obesity among adults in Hawaii was estimated at $470 million and $770 million for diabetes.

For more information about obesity and chronic disease prevention and the Choose Healthy Now project, go to:

Businesses interested in adopting Choose Healthy Now can download the Employer’s Toolkit at:

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