Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Healthy Lifestyles 5-2-1-0 Rule

5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day

Fruits and vegetables contain many nutrients that a child’s body needs, and they should take the place of high-calorie foods from a child’s daily food menu. Children who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day are significantly less likely to become overweight or develop obesity than children who eat less than three servings per day. In addition, high fruit and vegetable consumption decreases risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Ensure that your child eats fruits and vegetables at every meal and as a snack.

2 hours of screen time or less per day

Children who watch more than two hours of screen time (TV, computer, video games) per day have double the incidence of obesity when compared to children who watch less than one hour per day. Limit screen time to two hours or less per day and keep children physically active. Children should not be allowed to watch TV before 2 years of age, and there should be no TV in a child’s bedroom, no matter what the child’s age.

1 hour or more of physical activity per day

There is significant improvement in both physical and mental health when children and teenagers obtain their required 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Encourage your child to be active! Have a goal of 60 minutes a day of moderate physical activity such as playing outdoors or biking.

0 sugar sweetened beverages per day

An easy way to help is to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, punches, flavored milks, sports drinks and flavored coffees. These beverages are liquid candy and should rarely be served. One hundred percent pure fruit juice does not contain added sugar but may well contribute to excess weight gain, and portions should be limited.Provide your child with plain milk and water to drink. Give your child fresh fruit instead of juice. Pack water or milk in your child’s school lunch instead of a juice box.