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Live 5-2-1-0

By Dr. Betty Bartleman, MD, FRCP(C).

Now that the good intentions of January are fading away, let me tell you about something you can do that could really make a difference. Have you heard of “Live 5-2-1-0”? Live 5-2-1-0 is a simple way to remember guidelines for healthy living. Although developed for children, we would all benefit from following these easy-to-remember “rules”:

Five: Enjoy at least five vegetables and fruits every day. By age four, children need at least five servings, so offer a variety of types and textures. They may not like it the first time, but you never know when that might change.

Two: Limit screen time (television, computer, phone, video games, etc.) to a maximum of two hours each day. More screen time means less time being active and social. Avoiding screens in bedrooms will improve sleep habits.

One: Play actively for a minimum of one hour each day. Children learn physical, social and problem-solving skills while playing. Activity also improves school performance, mood and self-esteem.

Zero: Drink zero sugar-sweetened beverages (pop, energy drinks, iced tea, etc.). When you are thirsty, the best drink is water. Eating fruit is preferred over drinking fruit juice, which is high in sugar too!

With the support of B.C.’s Children’s Hospital, this guideline has been adopted by several communities across British Columbia in an effort to decrease childhood obesity and improve the general health of the children in their community. By using this easy-to-remember message in a variety of settings (health care, school, recreation, business) and building a healthy community environment, we can help children and families adopt healthy habits.

Kids learn what they live, so try to think about the example that you set. Let’s work together to build a community where the healthy choice is the easy choice. We have a great opportunity to influence the next generation as well as improve our own health.

So, unplug, grab your coat (and maybe an umbrella), get outside, pick up some locally grown produce and have a healthier 2016!

Visit for more information and suggestions on how to incorporate these guidelines into your daily life. If you would like to help make our community a Live 5-2-1-0 community, please contact me at mcnabscornmaze [at] gmail [dot] com, subject line Live 5-2-1-0.


About the author: Angie