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Healthy Families
05/08/2013
Four Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle: It is as easy as 5-2-1-0

 Watch this fun video with your kids!  See if they can remember how to 5210!

By Dr. Peyton Taliaferro

Four Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle: It is as easy as 5-2-1-0

In today's fast-paced world, it is hard for a family to stay focused on healthy living. Good diet and exercise advice like "eat healthy" and "stay active" seems too vague to be useful, but specific recommendations often seem complicated and overwhelming, and thus often ignored.

Here's a simple four-step program for a healthy lifestyle that is as easy to remember as it is to do. Just remember: 5-2-1-0.

5: Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It sounds like a lot, but having a piece of fruit with breakfast, another one with lunch with some carrot sticks and then two vegetables with dinner makes it an easy five per day. Alternatively, a fruit or vegetable snack after school can replace one of the lunchtime servings.

2: Allow less than 2 hours of screen time per day, and none for children less than two years old. (Note screen time includes television, video games, internet surfing, etc.)

1: Get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. This can be a structured activity such as playing on a baseball team. It can also be as simple as riding your bicycle around the neighborhood, or playing on the playground with friends.

0: Drink zero sugar sweetened beverages. This includes sodas, sports drinks, as well as sugar-sweetened juice drinks. Drinking beverages without calories can go a long way to maintaining a healthy weight.

Even though the 5-2-1-0 program is designed for kids, this simple plan for a healthy lifestyle is an excellent blueprint for the whole family. If we work together towards the same goals, we all win.

Dr. Peyton Taliaferro is a family physician in the Colorado Health Medical Group.

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