Local organizations work to prevent childhood obesity

Dec 14, 2013
Students jog in place at Owls Head Central School.

Rockport — Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0, a nationally-recognized childhood obesity prevention program based in Maine, has recognized 22 organizations in Knox County for their work in supporting children and families in healthy eating and active living. Let’s Go! has been working to reduce childhood obesity since 2006 by sharing the 5-2-1-0 message:

  • 5 or more fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less recreational screen time
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • 0 sugary drinks, more water and low-fat milk

Let’s Go! has recognized local childcares, schools and after-school programs for work they’ve done to create healthy environments that encourage children to increase their intake of healthy foods and get more physical activity. Sites that provide children with healthy meals and snacks, opportunities to get physical activity every day, non-food rewards, limited recreational screen time and zero sugary drinks have been recognized as bronze level sites of distinction. Organizations that have written some or all of these healthy strategies into policy earned a silver or gold rating.

“Being recognized sends an important message to students, staff, parents and the community that we care about the health of our students,” said Kristin Nelson, school nurse at Camden-Rockport Middle School, in a news release. “We are committed to making positive changes. Every tiny change we make does make a difference.”

The schools, childcares and after school programs recognized as sites of distinction are: Little Learners, South Thomaston (silver); Little Learners, Rockport (silver); Rockland Head Start (bronze); Pen Bay Creative Learning Center (gold); Wee Care Learning and Nature Center (gold); Pen Bay YMCA Childcare (gold); Youthlinks (silver); YMCA Kids Club (silver); Warren ACE (silver); Union ACE (bronze); Lura Libby School (bronze); Cushing Community School (bronze); Owls Head Central School (silver); Camden-Rockport Middle School (bronze); Camden-Rockport Elementary School (bronze); and Union Elementary School (bronze).

In addition, Let’s Go! recognized six Knox County healthcare practices for having healthy conversations with children and parents around healthy eating and active living, posting the Let’s Go! poster in all exam rooms and calculating accurate BMIs. These sites include Zing!, Pen Bay Pediatrics, Pen Bay Family Medicine, Waldoboro Family Medicine, Dr. Rob Merrill, and Hope Health.

“Let’s Go! is important because it gets everyone talking about healthy choices for kids and their families,” said Lynne Hall, school nurse at Lura Libby and Cushing Community schools. “It helps the kids by giving them simple health messages that are easy to use in everyday life. Children see the posters at school and at their doctor’s office and that helps them to understand that healthy choices are important.”

Let’s Go! works in six different settings to reach families where they live, learn, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy living. To learn more, please visit letsgo.org. Let’s Go! Knox County is housed in the Picker Family Resource Center, located on the Pen Bay Medical Center campus.

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