Summer Fun going soda-free

By Paula Akana
Published On: Jun 13 2012 01:09:00 PM HST

One in three kindergartners in Hawaii are obese or overweight.  Now, in an effort to combat the obesity epidemic, the city is making changes to its vending machines and its Summer Fun program.

HONOLULU -

One in three kindergarteners in Hawaii are obese or overweight.  The state has also seen a 26 percent increase in obesity in our high school students over the past decade.

Now, in an effort to combat the obesity epidemic, the city is making changes to its vending machines and its Summer Fun program.

"What's different about this summer is we're doing something totally out of the box here at Park and Recreation issuing a soda-free summer challenge to all kids coming to the program," said Al Tufono, the deputy director for Parks and Recreation.

The keiki will take a pledge to stay away from soda and sugary drinks.  The Department of Health is giving out water bottles to summer fun participants.

The city is taking it one step further -- park vending machines will now offer only water and 100 percent fruit juice.

Some say it's help for the kids and those at the park who go thirsty.

"We do applaud the city for doing the right thing by increasing options.  It's not just a personal choice.  There's lots of options available so kids can do the right thing," said Loretta Fuddy, director of the State Department of Health.

"(Tuesday) was actually the first day of Summer Fun.  It's going to be a challenge throughout summer," said Tufono.  "The kids are going to pledge -- make an honest pledge to stay away for seven weeks from soda and sugary drinks.  So, you got to stay tuned to see what happens," said Tufono.

Summer Fun runs through July 25.  The city plans on having the vending machines remain soda-free permanently.

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