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5-2-1-0 helps fight obesity


Courtesy of Snohomish County Health District

The 5-2-1-0 campaign has been adopted by the Snohomish Health District to help fight obesity in the community.

The program asks that families work toward five or more fruits or vegetables a day, two hours or less of recreational screen time, one hour or more of physical activity and zero sugary drinks per day.

The campaign is a nationally recognized program that came out of Maine, said Carrie Parker, a healthy communities specialist at the health district.

The 5-2-1-0 program is now widely used. Multiple counties and organizations in the state have adopted the message.

The campaign is simple and memorable, and the more widespread it becomes the more it helps keep the message consistent, said Parker.

"Seeing these same messages at the park, at your doctor, on your TV, it will be easier to adopt if you get these messages again and again," she said.

The district adopted the program to help fight obesity in the community.

"We look for opportunities to promote healthy eating and this in line with other recommendations for healthy living," said Parker.

Obesity is still a problem in the community, said Parker, as 26.7 percent of adults and 24.1 percent of youth suffer from it.

The five or more fruits and vegetables recommendation is meant to meet the nutrient needs of the body.

Snohomish Health District's research shows only 24.5 percent of eighth graders and 15.0 percent of adults eat that many fruits and vegetables a day, and those numbers have been decreasing in recent years.

Sugary drinks are another risk factor for childhood obesity, diabetes and dental cavities. The district has 69.3 percent of youth that don't drink any sugary drinks per day, and that number appears to be increasing.

The reduction in screen time is meant to help kids get more active.

"Two of our biggest problems are TV and games. It's just these sedentary activities that are consistently taking away from playing time which is usually where kids get their exercise," said Parker.

Too much television has been linked to lower reading scores, attention problems and increased chances of obesity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 not watch any television as well.

Regular physical activity helps prevent heart disease and diabetes and helps develop exercise habits for adults.

Only 22.9 percent of Snohomish County youth were physically active for at least one hour in 2012.

More information about the campaign can be found at the Snohomish Health District's website at


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