It's easier by the numbers: 5-2-1-0

Busy schedules; readily available fast food and sugary drinks; computers, cell phones and other electronics...there seems to be many obstacles to living healthy, active lives.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States. This is 3 times the rate from just onegeneration ago. But there are ways to turn the numbers around by remembering these numbers: 5-2-1-0.

5-Number of fruits and veggie servings you should eat every day.

Children are more likely to eat foods they see a parent eating and enjoying, so set a good example. To help get kids to eat more fruits and veggies:

  • Offer a variety in appealing colors
  • Let kids choose between two options
  • Have kids help grow, shop for and/or prepare them

2-Hours of screen time each day.

Set time limits on video games, TV and computer, and enforce those limits. Offer healthy, active alternatives, which leads us to...

1-Hour of physical activities in a day (but more is even better).

Kids are more likely to be active when you do things together.

  • Play catch, tag or badminton
  • Go biking or roller-skating
  • See if you still got the moves—break out the jump ropes and hula hoops
  • Take a walk or a hike—all you need are comfortable shoes
  • For more ideas, visit Healthy Living.

0-Number of sweetened drinks in a day.

Sodas, juices, flavored milk—even beverages labeled "no added sugar" or "all natural"—may contain up to 60+ grams of sugar. That's equal to about 15 teaspoons of sugar! Instead, try these healthier drink options:

  • Use natural fruit to add flavor to water, tea or smoothies
  • Mix fruit juice with plain or seltzer water
  • Drink plain water—it's inexpensive (or free!), readily available and has many health benefits

Learn more about cutting down on sugar and artificial sweetners. 

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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