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Countdown to health

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This October the YMCA and Oklahoma City-County Health Department are teaming up to bring 5-2-1-0 to Oklahoma.

A YMCA program to reduce childhood obesity, 5-2-1-0 stands for five servings of fruit or vegetables, two hours or less of television time, one hour or more of physical exercise, and zero sugary drinks per day.

To celebrate the local launch of the initiative, which began in the state of Maine, a special event will be held Sunday at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Families can enjoy the new and improved gardens while getting a handson lesson in health and wellness.

The free, kid-friendly event will feature games and activities, make-your-own parfaits and plant giveaways. For parents, there will be cooking demonstrations of quiche with nutritious Swiss chard and from-scratch, cost-effective baby food.

“The 5-2-1-0 event is intended to break down perceived barriers to living well,” said Angela Jones, director of health and wellness initiatives for the Oklahoma City YMCA. “Families get a chance to not only enjoy the Myriad Gardens, but to participate in activities and learn that you don’t have to have a lot of money to get outside.”

Although the 5-2-1-0 event was designed to be a day of fun, it takes aim at a serious problem. Around onethird of the youth in Oklahoma are overweight or obese, which puts them at higher risk for serious health problems later in life, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain kinds of cancer.

Health experts fear that the problem will worsen in the state. A report earlier this month by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projected that more than 66 percent of Oklahoma’s adult population will be obese by 2030.

“We know that our children and youth are unhealthy,” said Jamie Dunnington, program development administrator at OCCHD. “We know that they don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. They don’t spend enough time being physically active. We’re working on all of those issues to improve health and wellness in Oklahoma City and County.”

Dunnington and Jones will continue to promote the 5-2-1-0 campaign, bringing the message of healthy living to families, communities and workplaces.

There is even a catchy theme song set to the tune of the Village People’s “YMCA”: “It’s fun to stay healthy 5-2-1- 0!”

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