Keeping Kids Healthy with 9-5-2-1-0
By: Elena Vanderveldt, Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern (mentored by Sara Kuykendall, MBA, RD, LD) Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Services
Although 9-5-2-1-0 may just sound like a bunch of numbers, it actually stands for healthy daily habits to help prevent childhood obesity and keep kids and teenagers healthy.
- 9 - Beginning with sleep, children should start each day fresh after getting 9 hours of sleep at night. Children who get less than 9 hours of sleep may have an increased appetite that can lead to weight gain and obesity.
- 5 - In addition to getting enough sleep, children should aim to follow a healthy, balanced diet. Along with needing whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein foods like fish, meat, eggs, beans, and nuts, children also need 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to fuel their bodies. Colorful fruits and vegetables are important for the body to get enough vitamins and minerals needed for growth, staying healthy, and keeping within a good weight range.
- 2 - Screen time spent playing video games, watching TV, playing on the computer, and using cellphones should only take up 2 hours or less each day.
- 1 - Any more time spent sitting will take away from the 1 hour of physical activity that is needed each day. Physical activity, like walking or running around outside with friends, is important for muscle and bone growth, protecting against getting sick, and keeping kids feeling happy.
- 0 - Once kids get their physical activity, they need to rehydrate with healthy beverages by drinking plenty of water and 0 drinks with added sugar. This means avoiding sodas, sports drinks, and juices that are not made of 100% juice. If children do drink juice, make sure it is 100% fruit juice and is limited to only 4-6 ounces per day.
By following these simple ways to make better choices, children can lead healthier lifestyles. Visit tippingthescales.net for more information about making healthy choices.
The 95210 for HealthTM initiative is a product of the Northern Virginia Healthy Kids Coalition and shared with Valley Health with permission.
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