5-2-1-0: Four Simple Strategies to Help Your Family Stay Healthy

Have you heard of 5-2-1-0? 

The idea is to use this simple set of numbers to help people remember four important strategies for keeping kids healthy! 

  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Limit screen time to two hours or less
  • Get at least one hour of physical activity every day
  • Drink zero sugary drinks

Health promotion groups across the country are promoting 5-2-1-0  and using the strategies to design programs aimed at helping families find ways to keep their children healthy and reduce childhood obesity. 

Even during these times, where social distancing is so important for the health of our communities, there are still innovative activities available to help families incorporate these strategies into their daily lives. 

I, along with several other amazing organizations, recently started working on a program centered on two of these important strategies: The LiveWell Frederick Story Path. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, take a break from screens, and enjoy physical activity. 

I can’t claim credit for the idea. Story Walk was developed by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT with the help of Rachel Senechal and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. The idea was simple, take a story book, separate the pages, and then place the pages on signs. Once you have the book on signs, you can place them in a park, along a popular walking path, or in some other outdoor area. The Story Walks offered a way to get moving while enjoying a story. These Story Walks have become extremely popular and all 50 states and 12 additional countries have some sort of Story Walk. 

Here in Frederick, Md., we thought the Story Walk idea was brilliant and decided to implement our own, which we called Story Path. You can check out more info at https://www.livewellfrederick.com/programs/story-path/

Currently, the Story Path is set up at Utica Park and will be for the rest of the summer. Six books will be on display and all of them focus on themes centered around healthy eating and physical activity. 

While the Story Path is an excellent way to encourage more physical activity and less screen time, there are many other fun ways to help your family live the 5-2-1-0 lifestyle. 

You could try:

  • Selecting a new fruit or vegetable to try as a family
  • Starting your own garden (check out container gardening for limited space options)
  • An activity jar – write activities on slips of paper and place them in a jar. Then, draw one out whenever you need a fun family activity
  • Find a Story Walk near you
  • Check out a local park

Although it can be challenging, 5-2-1-0 resources, like these from Pennsylvania State University, can help you find a place to start. The most important thing is that you and your family find ways to maintain your health and strength.

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