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Hawaii Med J. 2011 Jul;70(7 Suppl 1):42-6.

Development and implementation of a food system intervention to prevent childhood obesity in rural Hawai'i.

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Department of Human Nutrition Food and Animal Sciences, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, HI, USA.


This paper presents details the Healthy Foods Hawai'i (HFH) intervention trial, aimed to improve children's dietary behavior to prevent child obesity, by modifying the food environment with community-selected foods. Four communities were selected by ethnic composition, income level, two on O'ahu and one neighbor island. On each island one community was randomly assigned to intervention and one to control. The intervention was implemented through food stores in the intervention communities. HFH was designed to strengthen the network between local food producers, food distributors, storeowners and consumers, to increase the availability of healthier less energy dense foods for children in underserved rural communities of Hawai'i. The intervention includes phases: healthier beverages, snacks, condiments, and family meals. Moderate to high fidelity was achieved for educational materials (shelf labels, posters and educational displays). The number of educational displays varied by intervention phase and community. Posters were found in place 100% of the time. Shelf labels were found intact in the correct location. Low to moderate fidelity was achieved for distributors, with some products not stocked. In the intervention communities, 6-8 week phases focused on target foods with 40 food demonstrations. A total of 1582 food related samples were distributed. A high to moderate dose and reach of the overall intervention was achieved in delivery of the cooking demonstrations. A high to moderate dose and reach of the intervention was achieved overall; fidelity to the intervention protocol was moderate. To improve healthy local food availability in stores in rural communities in Hawai'i, agricultural producers reported needing additional support to sell and transport product to local stores, rather than to centralized distributors.

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