Making healthy choices count
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
You may have heard about 5-2-1-0. So what is it and how does it apply to schools? 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count is an obesity prevention initiative with evidence-based strategies that support healthy choices, reaching children and adults where they live, learn, work, and play. This statewide campaign is coordinated by the Iowa Department of Public Health, in partnership with the Healthiest State Initiative and United Way of Central Iowa.
The initiative focuses on the importance of four simple daily health habits:
- 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
- 2 hours or less of recreational screen time (television, computer, video games, phones)
- 1 hour or more of physical activity; and
- 0 (or reduced) sugar-sweetened beverages.
5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count provides a framework for schools to create a healthier environment. Schools have the opportunity to provide healthier foods in the cafeteria and the classroom and can creatively increase physical activity throughout the entire school day. Schools provide an environment for children to learn and practice the skills needed to support healthy behaviors for a lifetime.
Key strategies that influence healthy lifestyle behaviors at school and examples from Iowa schools:
- Collaborate with the school meal program to promote the healthy food and beverage options that are available each day. Marshalltown CSD School Nutrition Services Facebook page
- Provide healthy choices for snacks and celebrations; limit unhealthy choices. Cedar Rapids CSD Healthy Snack List
- Allow water consumption throughout the school day; limit or eliminate sugary beverages. Des Moines Public Schools Rethink Your Drink Program
- Provide non-food rewards. Ankeny CSD Alternatives to Food as Reward Appendix G
- Provide opportunities for children to get physical activity every day. Davenport CSD Recess Running Program – Mileage Club
- Implement a staff wellness program. Central CSD (Elkader) Staff Wellness Program
- Engage community partners to help support and promote healthy eating and active living at your school. MFL MarMac Wellness Committee
- Partner with and educate families in adopting and maintaining a lifestyle that supports healthy eating and active living. North Polk CSD Physical Education Program and Family Events
- Participate in local, state, and national initiatives that support school wellness. Iowa HealthierUS School Challenge Award Winning Schools
So, now that you know what 5-2-1-0 stands for, it’s time to get started!
- Partner with Healthy Choices Count! Sign up today!
- Implement or strengthen your schools’ wellness policy to support the 5-2-1-0 messages. Check out Iowa Department of Education’s School Wellness webpage for regulations and resources.
- Share on social media how you are implementing “5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count” at your school and use #healthychoicescount
- Stay connected to school wellness resources and best practices with Iowa Department of Education’s Healthy Schools – Healthy Students communication channels:
Pinterest: Collection of school wellness bulletin boards, signage, and activities.