Honolulu takes fizzle out of Summer Fun - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu takes fizzle out of Summer Fun

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The state health department says drinking too many sugary beverages can potentially lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. So, the DOH, along with Honolulu city officials, are pressing for change - by targeting children at Summer Fun.

Say so long to soda! Honolulu Summer Fun took the "sugary sweet" out of every swig and swallow.

"We're doing something that's totally out of the box here in Parks and Recreation," says Honolulu Parks and Rec deputy director, Al Tufono, "and that is issuing a soda-free summer challenge."

The city and state want to combat childhood obesity by fizzing out pop from parks - where Summer Fun is run. Now, the vending machine choices are water, juice, and Gatorade.

DOH director Loretta Fuddy says, "About one in three children in our kindergartens and pre-schools are already overweight or obese and we, over the last 10 years, we've seen a 26% increase in obesity in our high schools."

The health department is handing out thousands of free, reusable bottles at Summer Fun. "So that kids can be encouraged to drink water, water, water!" says Tufono.

There's also renewed focus on getting kids up, moving, and burning calories. Four-fifths of Hawaii's high school students fail national guidelines for physical activity.

These kids seem cool with pledging to stay soda-free over Summer Fun's seven weeks. I asked 9 year old, Tani Hoke, "Is it going to be hard for you to not drink soda?" Tani says, "No, not really ‘cause it teaches people how to be healthy."

"It's all over, restaurants, drive-thrus, and stores, but, honestly, it's not that good for you," adds 12 year old Reyn.

This move comes two weeks after New York City's mayor made headlines with a proposal to ban super-sized sodas sales. Honolulu has been working on this plan for 18 months - just part of a nationwide trend.

"It helps people not drink and eat as much sugar," says a smart 6 year old named Max Nakano.

They've changed out about two dozen of the vending machines at city parks, so far - with more to come.

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