Children’s Health Is as Simple as. . .5-2-1-0

The Department of Public Health is fighting back against childhood obesity.

The Department is partnering with pediatricians, childcare centers and W.I.C. clinics to spread the word on the new 5-2-1-0 program.

The program, aimed at children between 2-5 years old, recommends that every day children get:

5 servings of fruits and vegetables
Limit screen time to 2 hours
Get 1 hour of aerobic exercise
Consume 0 sugary drinks.

Elaine Russell with the Department says similar programs have shown progress in other states. Findings from the CDC also show that the 5-2-1-0 program can keep your children healthier.

“We want 5-2-1-0 to become a common vocabulary for parents and child and healthcare professionals,” Russell said.

“We want the message to be consistent and widespread so that everyone knows it.”

* Fruits and vegetables are low in calories yet offer vitamins and minerals essential for supporting growth, development, and a healthy immune system.
* One serving size for a child will fit in the palm of your child’s hand.
* It can take up to 10 tries for kids to like a food.
* A variety of different color fruits and vegetables offers essential nutrients – that’s why it’s important to put a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your plate.
* Remember, children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see their parents eating those foods.

* TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing and interacting with others.
* Exploring and playing are crucial to brain development in young children.
* Touching, tasting, smelling, talking, movement and social interaction help children learn through their environment.
* The TV or computer cannot provide the same type of brain stimulation.
* Keep TVs, computers, DVD players and video games out of your child’s room.
* Set basic rules such as no TV or computer before homework or chores are done, and no TV during meals.

* Moving helps your child’s brain develop. Everyone in the family needs physical activity for a healthy heart, bones, muscles and brain.
* Playing outside encourages running, jumping, skipping, hopping – activities that result in a quicker heartbeat, more breathing and sweating. This also builds muscles.
* Take your child to the park. Take a walk with the family around the neighborhood.
* Daily physical activity helps children keep a healthy weight, develop strength and flexibility, and be calmer and more focused.
* Be a good role model. Let your child see you being active.

* Giving your children water or low-fat milk instead of juice or soda will help them avoid extra calories in their diets.
* Children under 6 months of age should drink no juice at all.
* Juice products labeled “-ade,” “drink” or “punch” often contain 5% juice or less. The only difference between these “juices” and soda is that they’re fortified with Vitamin C.
* Keep water handy and keep it cold.
* Add fresh lemon, lime or orange wedges to water for some natural flavor.
* Drink water when you’re thirsty. It’s the best choice.
* Be a role model. Grab a glass of water instead of soda.