Many of you may be familiar with some of the slogans that are being developed to try and help all of us lead healthier lifestyles. One of these is “5-2-1-0.” It means: 5 helpings of fruits and vegetables, no more than 2 hours of screen time, at least 1 hour of activity, and 0 added sugars each and every day! Fruits and vegetables means FRESH fruits and vegetables that are cooked in a healthy manner and not slathered with butter and sugar. Screen time means all kinds of screens including TV, computers, DVDs, and phones. Activity means hard activity…a sport that makes you sweat, breathe hard, and your heart go pitter patter! Zero sugar means zero added sugar…no sodas, no juices, pop tarts… you name it. Drink lots of water and avoid the ever-present high fructose corn syrup as if your life depended on it …. because it does.
I would add one more number to the slogan and make it “9-5-2-1-0.” The nine would be for 9 hours of sleep. Sleep, especially for kids, is perhaps as important as activity. A lot of children don’t get enough and it can lead to overeating and depression. Enforce an earlier bedtime at your house as another component of healthy living. If any of you reading these articles have other great ideas to help us live healthier lives, please let us know. We’re always looking for ways to help all our patients.
–Dr. Phil Dawson
Pediatric Partners of Virginia, West End Pediatrics Division