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Think About Your Drink

1% or Less Campaign

In June 2004, the Hawai'i State Department of Health's Healthy Hawai'i Initiative launched a public awareness campaign. This 1% or Less Is Best campaign encourages consumers to switch from high-fat milk (whole or 2%) to low-fat milk (1% or skim milk). The goal is to encourage adults and children (over 2 years) to reduce total fat and saturated fat intake by making one easy but important dietary change: switching from whole or 2% milk to 1% or skim milk. For children under two, whole milk is recommended. However, if you are over two years old, 1% or Less Is Best.

The 1% or Less Is Best campaign uses TV, radio, the Internet, posters and events to raise the public's awareness of the benefits of switching to low-fat milk.

Milk is an important source of vitamins A and D, protein and calcium. Regardless of fat content, all milk contains the same amount of vitamins, calcium and protein. However, whole milk and 2% milk have nearly double the total fat and saturated fat of 1% or skim milk. One cup of whole milk has as much artery-clogging saturated fat as one hot dog, five strips of bacon, a Snickers candy bar, or a fast-food hamburger.

Studies have shown that diets high in saturated fat are associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. In 2001, 71 percent of all adult (25 years and older) deaths in Hawai'i were due to nutrition-related diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes). Heart disease was the leading cause of adult deaths in Hawai'i - 41 percent (CDC, 2001). Therefore, the 1% or Less Is Best campaign focuses on changing a simple eating practice that can make a difference in reducing the amount of total fat and saturated fat in the diet without additional cost to the people of Hawai'i.

While sales of low-fat milk (1% and fat-free) have quadrupled over the past 25 years, whole and 2% milk still make up almost 75% of all milk sold. Nearly half (41%) of Hawai'i residents drink whole or 2% milk. Switching to lower-fat milk products is an easy way to cut total and saturated fat from our diets. Studies show that even small changes can have incredible effects on our health. By taking that first step towards eating healthfully and then slowly incorporating other good eating habits into our lifestyle, we can improve our health without difficult lifestyle changes. The key is to just start living healthy.

The 1% or Less Is Best campaign was modeled after the national health education program developed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that specializes in health education and policy. The 1% or Less Is Best campaign was launched in cooperation with the Department of Public Health Sciences and Epidemiology at the University of Hawai'i's John A. Burns School of Medicine.

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