Monday, November 12, 2012


A campaign for good health starts with kids

Four simple numbers can help parents raise healthy kids – 5-2-1-0. More on that later. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States — triple the rate from just one generation ago.  Healthcare providers are seeing data indicating that our obesity rates are even higher locally, and overweight children tend to become overweight adults.

Preliminary data from a recent health needs assessment phone survey shows that 65.5% of residents in New London and Windham County are overweight or obese, compared to 58.8% in  Connecticut and 63.2 % in the nation.

But there is an initiative called 5-2-1-0, a campaign that is catching on everywhere, mostly because it is straightforward, easy, clear, and science-based. It provides simple daily guidelines for healthy eating and exercise every day.

5)  Fruits and vegetables…more matters!  Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Juice does not count as a fruit or vegetable serving.  Eating the whole fruit is preferable.
2)  Cut screen time to 2 hours or less a day. This includes TV, texting, computer time and video games.
1)  Participate in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
0)  Restrict soda, sugar-sweetened sports and fruit drinks.  Instead, drink water and 3-4 servings/day of fat-free/skim or 1% milk.

Kathy Sinnett, APRN, Family Nurse Practitioner at Kelly Middle School Health Clinic, reports that they have initiated this program in school and encourage parents to continue the guidelines at home.

She reports that they are pleased with the response.

“The 5-2-1-0 program gives a simple and clear message for all ages,” she said.  “Our students learn this message at school and take it home for their families.  In addition we encourage everyone to have at least one meal together as a family each week.”

Now this is a campaign we can all get behind! More information about this campaign can be found at

Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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