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NMS focuses on health for people and the ocean

Many program goals and accomplishments for the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) were mentioned during the 2nd media coffee chat held at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center Thursday morning.


One of the biggest events planned for this year is the “Healthy Ocean/Healthy People Day” scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 29.


NMSAS Education, Outreach, and Community Coordinator Apulu Veronika Molio’o Mortenson describes the event as “a big thing,” adding that it will definitely be a day of celebration.


Individuals from the local kickboxing and wrestling scene will be present that day to talk about healthy living and demonstrate different exercise routines. Presentations on nutrition and health will also be made by representatives from the LBJ Hospital and local martial artists.


Different stations will be set up in the parking lot for various fitness activities and the festivities will conclude with a combined fitness class.


Apulu leads the twice-weekly Tae Bo sessions held in the Ocean Center parking lot and during “Healthy Ocean/Healthy People Day,” six people—already selected from the Tae Bo list of participants—will be profiled and recognized for their successes and transformations.


According to Apulu, those in the selected group have each lost between 50-70 pounds and one guy lost over 100 pounds as a result of taking part in Tae Bo and eating right. “These folks have shed a significant number of pounds and they deserve to be recognized for their commitment,” she said.


In addition, two people - aside from the six who will be profiled — have been selected to undergo certification for cross-fit training which will be funded by the NMSAS.


“We feel this would only help our program, by adding a bit of flavor to fitness,” Apulu said.


She explained that the Sanctuary Wellness Program, which was launched in May 2013, is their contribution in the fight to decrease the number of those who have been diagnosed with — and are at risk of falling victim to — non-communicable diseases like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, which are all too common in the territory.


According to the NMSAS, the Tae Bo Fitness Program was launched to uphold healthy minds and bodies, while connecting the community with the importance of protecting special places encompassed within the sanctuary areas of American Samoa.


“This innovative program brings together resource protection and community needs through fitness in an area of the world that has some of the highest percentages of obesity, diabetes, and threats to natural resources.”


Apulu explained, “The Wellness Program is our way of addressing these health issues and the upcoming celebration will highlight our success stories.” She said that some people who started the program have reported dramatic changes in their health, as far as having more energy, feeling more vibrant, and seeing better results when they visit the hospital for medical check-ups.


Tae Bo sessions include an estimated 60 people from partner agencies and the general community. Every meeting, according to the NMSAS, “brings opportunities for alliances to protect sanctuary resources.”


Tae Bo sessions are free of charge and open to public participation.


More information on the Sanctuary Wellness Program can be obtained by calling the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center at 633-6500.