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5210 Adds Up to Healthier Kids: May 12, 2014

Oh but times have changed since Barbara Smith was a little girl.

“Absolutely; when I was a child we used to play outside all the time,” Smith recalls.

In today’s world, many kids aren’t getting their daily dose of healthy activities. To combat childhood obesity, youngsters nationwide are learning a lifestyle lesson plan.

“This is the 5-2-1-0 that many of our children are hearing in school,” says Lee Memorial Health System pediatrician Dr. Nancy Witham.

The 5-2-1-0 breaks down to 5 daily servings of fruits or vegetables, limiting computer and screen time to 2 hours a day, getting at least 1 hour of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks. The plan comes at a time when our pediatric population is at-risk of developing lifelong illnesses.

“I think we all share that concern that our children aren’t going to be as healthy as parents would’ve hoped,” says Dr. Witham.

It boils down to decreasing poor habits and increasing good ones. Less sugar and screen sitting- more action and healthy foods. To hit the magic numbers, kids can spread out their servings and activities.

“Set timers and set realistic goals. An hour is our preference but 15 minutes, four times a day could be absolutely an accomplishment,” says Dr. Witham.

As a grandmother of two, Barbara is seeing the plan in action.

“The school that my one grandson goes to is very specific as what to bring to school for their lunches,” says Smith. “Healthy snacks and healthy foods with no preservatives.”

Pediatricians believe the 5-2-1-0 is a prescription for a healthier life.