• Staci Hemesath, RDN, LD

5-2-1-0: Healthy Choices Count!

On October 30, 2018, over 200 Iowans from multiple sectors gathered in Des Moines with common goals. What can we do to improve the health of our children? How can we encourage them to make healthy food and beverage choices and move their bodies more? How can we combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity and associated chronic diseases? How can we spread the 5-2-1-0: Healthy Choices Count! message?


First, attendees heard an insightful and inspiring keynote message from Retired Senator Tom Harkin, who shared some disturbing statistics. Iowa’s children are the 10th most obese in the nation and Iowa’s adults fare even worse at #4. Even more concerning? The trend is worsening, not improving. Senator Harkin outlined several wellness policies that have been implemented over the years, ideas for other actions that could be taken, and emphasized that the time is now to continue this important work.

For the remainder of the day, attendees listened to expert panels from schools, health care clinics, early childhood programs, and engaged communities. Each group shared challenges, strategies, and successes they’ve experienced while implementing the 5-2-1-0: Healthy Choices Count! message. They even “practiced what they preached” and got their own bodies moving and hearts pumping between sessions, thanks to Coach Daira from Hy-Vee KidsFit.

It was an invigorating day that left attendees armed with knowledge, connections, and fresh ideas and resources to make meaningful differences in their schools, child care centers, health care sites, non-profit and government organizations, and communities.

Schools, child care programs, out-of-school programs, and health care sites are invited to sign up as a 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! site to demonstrate their support of healthy choices. Registration is free and easy!

Early care sites that have implemented Farm to ECE strategies are already steps ahead, as the principles of Farm to ECE and 5-2-1-0 complement one another. By joining this growing network of providers in Iowa, your program will be visible on the www.iowahealhieststate.com website and highlight your commitment to wellness for families seeking quality child care!


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