Zeroing in on 5-2-1-0
My involvement with Let's Move Pittsburgh started when I met Director Mary Kathryn Poole at a symposium on Environmental Health Literacy at Magee-Womens Hospital last year. She and I quickly discovered our shared interest in promoting healthy communities.
As a pediatrician for over 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of children and their families and I’ve heard from parents who are concerned about how best to champion healthy eating and living for their families, especially with the demands of their busy lives. I’m constantly looking for resources and strategies to offer to families struggling with these important issues. So I was thrilled to discover what Let’s Move Pittsburgh has to offer.
Getting Started with 5-2-1-0
Let’s Move Pittsburgh has adapted* an amazing guide — summarized as 5-2-1-0 — to help families design a simple daily routine that promotes health and wellness. Each number provides a prompt for an essential health behavior: eating healthy foods, staying active, limiting screen time, and drinking more water.
Let’s Focus on the Big “0”
The zero in 5-2-1-0 stands for zero sugary drinks. In other words, skip the juices and sodas and just drink water! Water has so many benefits without the cost, calories or dental risks that sugary drinks have. Water is great for our skin and our kidneys. It protects our teeth by neutralizing the acid that baths our teeth after eating sugary foods (try drinking a glass of water after eating a meal or snack). I like to remind kids and parents that their body is made up of more than half water, so water is vital for the body to function and to do all those important activities like jumping, running, drawing, thinking and reading. And what’s so amazing about water is that it is absolutely free and accessible almost anywhere!
More "0" Tips for Parents and Kids
Be creative, set a good example, and above all — have fun. For younger kids, try using fancy straws or making ice cubes in animal shapes (Michael Craft Stores has some neat ice cube trays) to spruce up a glass of water. For older kids, add a slice of lemon, lime, orange or a cucumber to a glass of water or use soda water with a twist of lime for something really special. For the adventuresome and tech savvy, find a public water fountain and send us the location and we can create a geomap for public water fountains in Pittsburgh. You may be surprised at where they can be found. Even if an idea doesn’t work, trying new things can be fun. There’s no special sauce or magic needed (of course, who wouldn’t like some?), but what is clear is this: parents are in powerful positions to create a lasting and memorable experiences. Please feel free to share your stories and ideas in the comments; I’d love to hear what you’ve done with your kids.
*This program is adapted from Let’s Go! www.letsgo.org