Advice on proper nutrition and physical activity can be confusing, and at times overwhelming – especially when it comes to knowing what’s best for your kids!
Don’t worry! There’s a basic message that gives parents the important information they are looking for without being bombarded by information on healthy eating and physical activity.
Live 5-2-1-0 is a simple, easy to remember message to help kids and families adopt healthy habits. It’s evidence-based and it touches on all key behaviours that most physical activity and healthy eating programs promote.
The four key principles that the 5-2-1-0 message promotes are the following:
5 – or more fruits and vegetables
This message encourages children to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Most kids (and their parents or guardians) aren’t consuming the minimum of five servings daily. A diet rich in fruits and veggies helps provide children and families with the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and overall energy needed to be physically active and play. It also associated with lower rates of chronic disease – especially when eaten in replacement of other common kid snacks that are high in sugar and have little nutritional value. We know it’s important for children to eat fruits and vegetables, but getting them to do so can be a challenge. Try these quick tips to help your family increase their fruit and veggie intake: always have fresh cut veggies or fruit available in the fridge, add bananas or berries to pancakes or muffins, provide dried fruit instead of candy, keep a bag of frozen (and inexpensive) vegetables in your freezer to add to stews, casseroles and stir-fried dishes.
2 – hours or less of screen time
Did you know that children are spending an average of seven hours a day in front of screens? Yes, SEVEN HOURS per day using electronic devices such as televisions, computers and phones instead of spending time being active and outdoors. Too much screen time can make it difficult for your child to sleep and it can also raise their risk of attention problems, anxiety, depression and obesity. For this reason, it’s recommended to limit your child’s screen time to a maximum of two hours per day if they are between the ages of 5 to 17 years.
1 – hour or more of physical activity per day
Only 9% of children and youth are meeting current physical activity guidelines. Those who meet activity guidelines are more likely to have better bone health, heart health, self-esteem and social skills. Encourage your children to go outside and play for 60 minutes every day. This can be a great opportunity for you to be more active as well. Join your kids when they play catch, toss a Frisbee or go to the park. If it’s raining, consider playing with them indoors and getting the whole family involved in a game of Twister! The sky is the limit! Let them be creative and find different ways to be active every day.
0 – sugary drinks (more water and low-fat milk)
Sugary drinks, such as pop, fruit drinks, frozen drinks (i.e. slushies) and sports drinks are popular drink options for children (and adults too)! Sugar-sweetened beverages are not only high in sugar and calories, but have very few nutrients, if any. An increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is alarming as many adults and children are replacing healthier drink options (like water and low-fat milk) with sugary drinks. For optimal health, make water and low-fat milk your family’s beverages of choice.
Consider applying these principles in your household. Now that the new school year is here, there is no better time to begin setting new goals for your family. Creating healthy habits is important because when children grow in an environment where healthy eating and physical activity is part of daily life, they are much more likely to grow up and be healthy adults.
Set your children on the path to be healthy, active and happy by LIVING 5-2-1-0!
For more information, please visit the Live5210 website at: http://www.live5210.ca/.