Unique Youth Nutrition Program Engages Local School Kids for Better Health
Posted on May 31, 2012 | 0 comments
Childhood obesity – it’s in the news and the facts are startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- 13.8 percent of students ate vegetables three or more times per day during the seven days before the survey
- 18.4 percent of students were physically active at least 60 minutes per day during the seven days before the survey
- 19 hours, 40 minutes is the average time per week that the American child ages two and 17 spends watching television
- Due to obesity-related illness, today’s children may be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than that of their parents.
“School-age children spend the bulk of their waking hours at school,” says Loader. “Our 5210 school curriculum is designed to give parents and educators tools to combat childhood obesity in a simple, clear and positive way.”
In the 5210 program each number represents a goal:
5: Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Limit juice to small amounts of 100 percent fruit juice.
2: No more that two hours of screen time a day. Less is better!
1: Participate in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
0: Aim to drink zero servings of soda and sugar-sweetened sports and fruit drinks. Instead, drink water and three to four servings/day of fat-free/skim or 1 percent milk.
The 5210 program includes:
Each month, the students concentrate on a different number in the 5210 program. Each number is color-coded, and for the PAMF-facilitated programs, students get a wristband color-coded with that month’s number. There are also tips on how to fit these goals into real life, one at a time. Among other resources is a list of free healthy rewards for the kids – choose a favorite game, get a homework pass, have class outside – and learning what constitutes a portion size.
Engaging activities are tailored to elementary school children’s interests, and some of their favorites are the poster contest, cooking classes and a jump rope contest.
“The kids were so excited about the jump rope contest that they spent the whole week before practicing,” says Loader. “One third grade student did 96 jumps in one minute.”
According to Loader, schools that implemented the program have seen marked results, with schools that actively participated in all the activities seeing the best results. For example, one Sunnyvale elementary school that participated in all the activities in the program reported that:
- 79 percent of the students spend one or more hours being active on the weekend.
- 78 percent have zero or one sweetened drinks per day.
- Only 22 percent spend more than two hours a day in front of screens during the week.
For more information on the 5210 Program and to access the 5210 Program educational materials, visit the 5210 section of PAMF’s Youth Nutrition Program website. Under the “Schools” section you’ll find handouts, templates, presentations, and other resources that schools can download and use to implement their own 5210 program.