Nutrition and Physical Activity

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A healthy lifestyle requires a balance of good nutrition, being physically active and making good choices. Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness offers children and families educational programs on nutrition and physical activity.

5-2-1-0 for Healthy Habits

For optimal health, families can prioritize habits such as:

  • Choosing to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Choosing to be more active
  • Choosing to limit your screen time
  • Choosing to be physically active for at least one hour each day
  • Choosing to drink more water or milk and less sugary drinks

Families can begin to prioritize health by using the 5-2-1-0 rule. We proudly use the 5-2-1-0 health promotion campaign to educate children and families about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, limiting screen time, being physically active and avoiding sugary drinks. The rules are simple and can be applied anytime and anywhere.

  • FIVE or more fruits and vegetables
  • TWO hours or less of screen time
  • ONE hour or more of physical activity
  • ZERO sugary drinks

MyPlate Is a Symbol for Healthy Eating

MyPlate is the model for healthy eating in the United States. Experts at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency in charge of nutrition, created the colorful plate to help people remember to:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Eat less of some foods and more of others.

The plate features four sections — vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein — plus a side of dairy in blue. The big message is that fruits and vegetables take up half the plate, grains and protein take up about one-quarter of the plate. The divided plate also helps keep portion sizes in check.

To learn more about MyPlate and discover more tools to help with creating a healthy eating routine, visit https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate.

Physical Activity With FITT Principle

How can youth be set up to successfully reach the recommended physical activity guidelines? The FITT principle can help! This method uses four fundamentals — frequency, intensity, time and type — to help create a plan that will keep children on track to great health.

Here’s what a FITT plan looks like for various ages.

Preschool-age Children (Ages 3 to 5)

  • Frequency
    • For growth and development, it’s important they are physically active every day.
  • Intensity
    • Parents and caregivers should encourage children to be active in play that is light, moderate or vigorous.
  • Time
    • Children should be active throughout the day.
  • Type
    • Children should engage in play that includes a variety of activity types that help develop their full range of fundamental movement skills.

Children and teens (ages 6 to 17)

  • Frequency
    • Youth should be given plenty of opportunities to participate in physical activities every day.
    • Aerobic: Three days a week
    • Muscle-strengthening: Three days a week
    • Bone-strengthening: Three days a week
  • Intensity
    • Aerobic activities should be moderate to vigorous intensity
  • Time
    • Youth need to be active for 60 minutes or more daily and try to incorporate the three types of activity.
  • Type
    • Aerobic
    • Muscle-strengthening
    • Bone-strengthening

To learn more about the FITT principle, including example exercises, go to The FITT Plan for Physical Activity at HealthyChildren.org.

Learn more in our Kids Health Library:

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