Health in Motion: 5-2-1-0: A 7th Grade Initiative at Allegheny Valley SD
Brought you by Let’s Move Pittsburgh, the Health in Motion blog series is intended to showcase the efforts of schools and community organizations in the Pittsburgh region who are leading children to a healthier future. A new project with a guest author or interviewee will be featured each month. Let’s Move Pittsburgh hopes that Health in Motion will encourage leaders to adopt healthy programs in their communities and inspire readers to make healthy changes in their own lives.
When I first decided to implement the 5-2-1-0 initiative into my 7th grade health curriculum for the 2015-2016 school year, I was somewhat concerned about how 7th grade students would respond. I knew that they were familiar with the traditional Food Pyramid and the more recent MyPlate strategies. I also was aware of the fact that many students did not really incorporate these strategies into their personal lifestyles. I was eager to detect how Springdale Jr./Sr. High students would respond to this new lifestyle strategy.
During the first week of health class, I introduced 5-2-1-0. After a brief explanation of each step, we spent the majority of a class period discussing the need for each individual portion of this strategy. It was important to me that students understood how each aspect of 5-2-1-0 influences their overall health. I quickly realized that the majority of the class agreed that this was certainly something that they could strive for on a daily basis. Students began to brainstorm ways to improve their daily habits and soon were setting personal goals.
Three weeks after the introduction of this unit I decided to reflect and review upon the 5-2-1-0. I asked students to think about 5-2-1-0 on a personal level and provided an opportunity for each student to share their opinion in one statement on the classroom whiteboard. This is what they had to say:
“5-2-1-0 is a creative, catchy way for kids to remember an easy way to stay healthy.” —Maddie Byrnes
“5-2-1-0 is a great, smart tool for all ages.” —David Whitmer
“5-2-1-0 is an efficient way to simplify what it means to have a healthy lifestyle.” —Haley Bonidie
“5-2-1-0 helps me remember ways to stay healthy.” —Travis Michael
“5-2-1-0 can make a healthier lifestyle and lower the obesity rate.” —Asher Skiles
After this activity, it was clear to me that these students had an accurate understanding of this concept. They were able to recognize that 5-2-1-0 is a simple tool that can improve/maintain a person’s overall health. They also recognized that this can be used for people of all ages. I was most impressed with the fact that they were able to make a connection to today’s obesity epidemic.
Although it was apparent that these students understood and agreed with this lifestyle structure, it is still a continuous struggle to encourage them to actually live by it. Each student is influenced on a daily basis with unhealthy food choices, social media, and their peers. I do, however, believe that with continuous encouragement, health and physical education, and positive role models, our youth will have the potential and will power to live by the 5-2-1-0 strategy.