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Four small numbers, big dividends for student health

Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2022

"boy on smoothie bike"Helping young Iowans be healthy is always important. Students spend much of their time in school and schools are well positioned to help reinforce development of healthy habits that will last a lifetime. As part of the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! initiative, 18 Iowa schools were awarded subgrant funds for projects that help support students in reaching that goal.

From hydration and walking challenges to healthy food taste tests and teaching students to grow their own produce, see how Iowa schools across the state used their 2021-22 grant funding in fun new ways to help students develop healthy habits for a lifetime.

The 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a nationally recognized and evidence-based prevention framework to promote healthy habits that support healthy choices, reaching children and adults where they live, learn, work and play. The statewide framework is coordinated by the Healthiest State Initiative, a public-private partnership driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.

The initiative focuses on the importance of four simple daily health habits:

  • 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables;
  • 2 hours or less of recreational screen time (television, computer, video games, phones);
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity; and
  • 0 sugar-sweetened beverages.

"smoothie break"5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! provides a framework for schools to create a healthier environment. Schools have the opportunity to provide healthier foods in the cafeteria and the classroom and can creatively increase physical activity throughout the entire school day. Schools provide an environment for children to learn and practice the skills needed to support healthy behaviors for a lifetime.

For more information and resources to implement or strengthen your schools’ wellness policy to support the 5-2-1-0 messages, visit the following Iowa 
Department of Education webpages:

School Wellness

Physical Education and Health Education

Healthy Kids Act