You have probably heard about the increasing number of children who are overweight and the efforts to decrease the trend. 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! is a national childhood obesity prevention program which focuses on policy and environmental changes to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children through age 18. Let’s Go! works with youth and families through a collaboration of six sectors including schools, early childhood, communities, workplace, out of school and healthcare. While the initiative originated in Maine through the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, communities across the nation have implemented the program.
The goal of the campaign is to change unhealthy behaviors and adopt healthier habits. While the primary target is youth, people of all ages can benefit from the guidelines. Strategies are evidence-based and the messages are consistent and simple:
- Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day
- Spend 2 hours or less of screen time – television, smart phone, video games, etc.
- Enjoy 1 hour or more of physical activity each day
- Consume 0 sweetened beverages per day, such as soda, juice and energy drinks
Graphic courtesy of Keys for Healthy Kids
Collaboration is key to the success of the program in any state. Teams of nutrition, health and education specialists develop trainings to provide to partners within the community setting. Some of the successful strategies that have worked for Maine and Florida include:
Engage community partners to support healthy eating and active living
Prohibit food being used as a reward
Implement staff wellness programs that incorporate physical activity and healthy eating
Provide water rather than sugar-sweetened beverages
Limit unhealthy snacks provided for celebrations, offering healthy snacks instead
In 2015, more than 350,000 children and their families living in Maine were reached through 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Future opportunities of the program may be extended to parents in the home environment and disabled children.
Sources: The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! http://www.letsgo.org/
Florida Health, Palm Beach County, http://www.5210letsgo.com/
Jennifer Even, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County
Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County