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NMSAS very much a part of local community

As a way to help members of the local community stay healthy and address the growing number of non-communicable diseases (NDCs) like obesity in the territory, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) is offering free Tae Bo classes twice a week throughout the year.


During the first ever Media Coffee Chat held at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center last week, Wednesday, NMSAS Education, Outreach, and Community Coordinator, Apulu Veronika Molio’o Mortenson, who leads the Tae Bo sessions, said the program is to promote wellness within the community.


She referred to the fact American Samoa is ranked #1 worldwide in obesity cases and the number of diabetes and hypertension cases are ever increasing in the territory and said this is something that needs to be addressed.


“The Sanctuary Wellness Program is our way of helping to alleviate obesity and lessen the number of diabetes and hypertension cases,” she said.


The classes are free of charge and held at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center parking lot every Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.


“We make sure the classes are held consistently, meaning rain or shine,” she said, adding that during times of heavy rainfall, the classes are moved to the covered carport area at the new AS-EPA parking lot next to the EOB.


Most of the class participants are government employees, but everyone is welcome to join.


Apulu referred to the Samoan saying “O le fogava’a e tasi” and said, “This means everyone on the crew is on one deck. We are one family and we here at the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa want to do things to promote this idea.


“Whether it’s helping to preserve culture through strict monitoring of our local marine life and informing the public on the importance of our local ocean resources, the NMSAS stands by its belief that ‘We are one family in our community, committed to advancing the importance of our special place and people in American Samoa, the Pacific, and beyond’,” she said.


According to the NMSAS web site, “Of all the areas in the National Marine Sanctuary System, the American Samoa sanctuary is the most remote, is the only true tropical reef, and is thought to support the greatest diversity of marine life”


More information on the free Tae Bo classes can be obtained by contacting the NMSAS at 633-6500.