Hawaii is dealing with an epidemic of Type-2 diabetes, and thousands of others with pre-diabetes are on the verge of the disease.
That's why the state's Health Department wants Hawaii residents to get informed: to see if they have either condition, and to consult with their doctor or health care provider.
To help spread the word, the DOH is enlisting local actors to star in new advertising spots -- some of whom have battled the chronic illness themselves.
Dr. Virginia Pressler, the state's health director, says the print, television and web campaign comes after a near doubling of the disease in Hawaii over the last 15 years.
"The good thing is that there is something we can actually do about it," Pressler said. "At least for Type-2 diabetes, which is preventable."
The state says 600,000 people -- one out of every two adults in Hawaii -- have either prediabetes or Type-2 diabetes.
"Prediabetes is a serious health condition that puts people at risk for Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke," said Dr. Pressler. "The good news is you can reverse prediabetes with basic lifestyle changes.
Frank DeLima, the famous local actor and comedian, plays a staring role in the TV spots. DeLima says he had Type-2 diabetes, and that his doctor told him he needed to lose 100 pounds.
DeLima underwent a lifestyle change, he says, by eating more vegetables, working out, and instituting portion control. He was able to reverse it.
"And I lost the weight, controlled my Type-2 diabetes, off the medication, the doctor's happy," DeLima says.
The state says diabetes is a serious issue that can lead to life and death situations, but the campaign infuses local humor to help get the message across -- and to get people to take a quick, 30-second on-line test, to see if they're at risk.
"Eh, you Frank DeLima ah you? Did you take the test?" asks one actor in the spot.
"Me, I no take tests," DeLima jokingly responds.
The state also hopes to get the attention of groups that are at high risk in Hawaii for diabetes.
"We know that in terms of Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and our Asian population, like Filipino, Japanese, Chinese... We have a greater risk for diabetes," said Lola Irvin, an administrator for the State Health Department.
According to the state, "prediabetes" refers to having a blood sugar that is above the normal level, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type-2 diabetes.
Without effective intervention, the state says, 15 to 30 percent of adults with prediabetes will develop Type-2 diabetes within 5 years.
For more information on the campaign, to take the on-line Diabetes Risk Test or to view the television and print ads, go to www.PreventDiabetesHawaii.com.