For a number of years, Oklahoma has hovered near the lower end of the nationwide spectrum in terms of health, with higher than average rates of obesity, overweight and diabetes. A new program of the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City in conjunction with Wellness Now and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OKCCHD) is looking to improve that with some simple advice.
The newly-developed 5210 program aims to teach kids and families “Numbers to Live By” through its new community health campaign, which will launch with an official kickoff event October 7 at the Myriad Gardens. The program is aimed at increasing awareness to the daily guidelines for nutrition and physical activity, and encourages families to include:
- 5 or more fruits or vegetable servings daily
- 2 hours or less of screen time per day
- 1 hour or more of physical activity
- 0 sweetened beverages
“The 5210 message is simple, clear, and represents some of the most important steps families can take to prevent childhood obesity,” said Angela Jones, Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives at the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. “We intend for this event to become an annual opportunity to get outside as a family in one of the most beautiful areas of our community. This day is about removing barriers to exercise and eating well and creating a healthy family home.”
The 5210 kickoff event is free and open to the public on Sunday, October 7, noon–4:00pm at the Myriad Botanical Gardens (301 W Reno, OKC). Children of all ages can take place in activities, such as a scavenger hunt, and can win prizes. A wide variety of field games will be offered, as well as demonstrations on how to make healthy parfaits, baby food and home gardening ideas. Participants will even leave with their own vegetable plants.
The YMCA and the Wellness Now Coalition are expecting approximately 500 families to attend the launch party. “With any new campaign that you launch, there are of course concerns as to how well it will be received,” says Jones. The YMCA and OKCCHD have collaborated with health professionals and those in the community for feedback. “The 5210 program is a positive message, with four simple changes to focus on. These changes can be done in steps, rather than all at once. Everything that comes out of this campaign is intended to be positive and create awareness.”
Over the course of the next year, the 5210 campaign will be rolled out through a website, a physician toolkit and a school toolkit, in hopes of maximizing exposure to the program. For physicians, the kit will include a flip chart and other tools for use in-office, to facilitate conversations about obesity and healthy living. These resources were developed with Dr. Ashley Weedn of OU Children’s Physicians. School toolkits are under development with the Oklahoma City Public Schools. The 12-week units will be focused on grades four and five, and the subject matter will be presented in the main classroom setting with supplementation in physical education classes.
“These resources will be easily accessible, open to public use online, and will promote a consistent and penetrating message to families and communities,” Jones said. Several communities across the United States have already seen success with the 5210 campaign.
The concept is based on a framework of evidence-based health behaviors associated with healthy weight in children. The Center for Disease Control has targeted these specific behaviors as priorities for obesity prevention and control. Recent literature has shown the success of such campaigns in promoting healthy lifestyles. Partners joining with the YMCA, Wellness Now and OCCHD in the kickoff event include: Transition Oklahoma City, Central Oklahoma Turning Point, Food for Thought Learning Institute, Sierra Club and Allied Arts.
Shannon Fields is a freelance writer from Edmond and a Certified Pharmacy Technician at Innovative Pharmacy Solutions.