The 5-2-1-0 rule (five-two-one-zero rule) refers to a style that ensures the following items in a child’s life on a daily basis: five servings of vegetables and fruits, no more than two hours of screentime, at least one hour of physical exercise, and no juice.
We heard about 5-2-1-0 rule from the pediatrician of Dear Son. Later after searching the topic over the internet, we found that the topic is discussed well in the literature and relates to the prevention of childhood obesity. A link from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, regarding 5-2-1-0 Rule, is provided here.
We made the following Youtube video to raise awareness regarding the 5-2-1-0 rule. Dear Son watched the video several times. To our surprise, Dear Son now reminds us of any item of healthy practice we forget in any day. You may show your child the video and find out if it encourages her/him in a healthy lifestyle.
All the elements of the 5-2-1-0 Rule are explained below.
Five: Children need five servings of fruits and vegetables every day
Make sure that your child is having five servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Fruits and vegetables of different colors ensure enough vitamin intake, which is essential for the growing body. Besides vitamins, fruits and vegetables provide minerals essential for the forming bones.
When possible, buy locally grown vegetables and fruits because they are fresher than the ones that cross a country if not a continent. Fruits and vegetables start to lose their nutrients immediately after they are harvested. The faster they get to the plate after harvesting the better.
Two: A child must have less than two hours of screen time each day
Allow no more than two hours of screen time every day. Screen time includes television and any device like a phone and a tablet.
Rationing screentime is healthy but try to make the practice of rationing less stressful for you and your child. Grow a culture of something better than screens. The addicted to screens should be diverted to something constructive. Reading, playing music, building something using Lego pieces — there are so many other options that you can promote to your kids.
Try to reduce the number of screens at home. The more options your children will have the harder it will become for them to keep the screentime lesser than two hours.
Do not allow children to watch screens after 7:30 in the evening. Screens after 7:30 will make falling asleep difficult.
One: A child should have at least an hour of physical activity every day
Make sure that your child is having an exercise of at least an hour each day. Exercise can be playing in the backyard, or running with the dog in a park, or even walking hurriedly in the sidewalks of the neighborhood with parents.
Kids will play a lot in school. There is a Physical Exercise class in school. Children generally utilize their recess by playing too. Therefore, one hour of physical activity is not an issue during the school day.
Parents need to make sure that children play at least an hour during the weekends, winter, and summer break.
Zero: No sugar should be allowed, not even juice
Children should not have juice, candy, or ice cream on a daily basis. It is ok to have a sweet treat once in a while but sweet-intake should not become a daily habit. Anything sweetened is not good for health.
Our belief from the old days that fruit juice is healthy has been criticized in recent years. Definitely, sweetened fruit juice is not healthy — common sense says that. Even, 100% fruit juice is not healthy because of how it is preserved and packaged. The question boils down to should we allow our children to eat fresh fruits or drink one-year-old 100% juice?
Health concerned parents are now preferring direct fruit consumption for their children over even 100% fruit juice purchased from the supermarket. Regardless of the food-value, another item that is missing in the supermarket fruit juice is the fresh fiber. An argument could be — pulped juice. Again, the food value of the fresh fruit is way greater than 100% juice with added pulp.
Any other rule? The 2% rule of milk
The four rules above combined together are called 5-2-1-0 rule. Feel free to add more rules to ensure more healthy habits. For example, drink a cup of 2% milk every day.
Now, why 2% milk, not full -ream milk? Dear Son’s pediatrician has been suggesting 2% milk since Dear Son was a toddler. Dear Son is six years old (when I am writing this post).
The percentage of milk is labeled by the percentage of fat the milk contains. In reality, full-cream milk contains 4% fat. The 2% milk contains just half of that fat. Any more than 2% milk may contribute to childhood obesity.
As described by Dr. William Sears, other than the fat ingredient, there is no difference between 2% and full-cream kinds of milk. The child should get additional healthy fat but not from the cow. Fish and eggs are two healthy alternative sources of fat.
To a happy and healthy lifestyle of all families.
From a Family Blog: Settle in El Paso
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4 thoughts on “5-2-1-0: Parenting rule of thumb for children’s healthy lifestyle”
This rules sounds wonderful. Specially the screen time part. The kids of today’s generation are spending so much time in front of various kinds of screens that the human interaction has become very less. And, this will only get worse with time. Until and unless the parents make it a point to limit the screen and virtual time, and replace it with physical interaction.
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I absolutely agree with you. Screens reduced the social interactions. More parenting awareness needs to be raised to ensure healthy habits of today’s children. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a great Friday tomorrow followed by a wonderful weekend.
Interesting rule. I agree with screen limits, vegetables, and sports activities. But why NO JUICE? Even if it is natural and sugar-free?
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It is a good question. I also had this question in mind.
The 100% juice with no added sugar available in the supermarket has been preserved in boxes for a few months to a year. Regardless of the amount of juice or sugar, its food value deteriorated due to the preservation technology used. Besides, juice does not include the fruit-fiber, which is considered a valuable part of the diet. This is why pediatricians recommend fruits instead of juice. A treat once in a while is alright, but it is better to avoid daily juice.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading the article. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.