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5-2-1-0: It's Not Just For Kids

Healthiest State Iowa

October 19, 2018

You may have seen a 5-2-1-0 poster at your pediatrician’s office or heard your kids talking about it after school. But what is 5-2-1-0? 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a scientifically-proven method that helps keep Iowans healthy by focusing on the importance of practicing healthy habits every day: 

  • 5 or more fruits or vegetables.
  • 2 or less hours of recreational screen time.
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity.
  • 0 sugary drinks — drink more water!

5-2-1-0 was developed as a childhood obesity prevention program. But its principles aren’t just for kids — adults can benefit from practicing these healthy habits too.

Remember, you are a role model to the children in your life: Do you eat healthy foods? Do you limit the use of your phone or tablet? Do you participate in physical activity? Do you drink enough water?

If you’re wondering how to start making healthy choices a priority, here are a few ways you can incorporate 5-2-1-0 at work and at home:

5 or More Fruits or Vegetables

Work — It’s 2 p.m. and you’re craving a snack. Instead of hitting the vending machine, reach for a healthier option. Keep washed fruits and veggies in your fridge at home so they are ready to grab on your way out of the door.

Home — It's easy to fall into the routine of buying the same fruits and vegetables each time you go to the grocery store. Try one of these "If you like this... try that" swaps based on produce you already enjoy. Maybe you'll discover a new favorite!

2 or Less Hours of Recreational Screen Time

Work — Many of us stare at screens all day long. Instead of scrolling through social media over lunch, use your break as an opportunity to go screen-free: Read the newspaper, do a crossword puzzle or listen to music.

Home — Instead of binging Netflix this weekend, host a game night with friends or family. Bust out old board games or a deck of cards. No screens necessary and you’ll strengthen your social connections too. Win-win!

1 Hour or More of Physical Activity

Work —We all need brain breaks at work! Stand up every few hours to stretch or use your breaks to take walks around the block (or skywalk!) with co-workers or schedule walking meetings to check-in with your boss.

Home — Physical activity doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym. Where can you incorporate more movement into our day-to-day routine? Park your car at the far end of the lot. Take care of errands on foot or bike. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

0 Sugary Drinks

Work —Avoid the mid-afternoon slump by fueling your body with water instead of sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks. Alternatives include sugar-free flavored water, tea or water infused with fresh fruit. 

Home — Keep fresh, cold water handy, whether it be in a pitcher or bottled. Try adding fresh fruit, like lemons or limes, or herbs, like mint or basil. Challenge yourself to drink half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water each day!

Learn more about 5-2-1-0, access free resources and activity ideas or order free materials for your home or office online.

Happy Healthiest State Month!

Named as the #1 Metro with the Most Community Pride by Gallup, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is the fastest growing metro in the Midwest. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Lauren Kollauf

Lauren Kollauf is the content marketing director for the Healthiest State Initiative. Lauren can usually be found taking (or teaching) a yoga class at Power Life, hanging with her doggo Frank, or checking out a new restaurant or brewery. She and her husband are proud alums of Drake University and are happy to call DSM USA home.