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Mary Bridge rolls out initiative to support healthy lifestyles

Posted on Oct. 5, 2011 ( comments)

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in partnership with ACHIEVE introduces a new community-based initiative to promote healthy lifestyle choices for families.

The program – called Ready, Set, Go ! 5210 - will focus on ways to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating, engaging schools, hospitals, nonprofits and community groups in the education process. Mary Bridge brought together leaders in the community on Oct. 6 to talk about how to spread this message to families in the South Sound.

“We are joining together to focus our community on obesity prevention,” said Mady Murrey, Vice President and Administrator of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. “Our goal is to create a healthier community, and one way we can do that is to educate our kids and families about healthy choices. This program offers easy-to-understand tips that can keep kids active and improve their diets.”

The 5-2-1-0 stands for:

  • 5 or more fruits & vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Studies suggest that fruit and vegetable consumption may help prevent weight gain.
  • 2 hours or less of recreational screen time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average child watches an average of 5 to 6 hours of TV a day. The APP recommends that children younger than 2 shouldn’t watch any television. No TV or computer in the room in which a child sleeps.
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity. Regular activity is essential for weight management and prevention of chronic diseases.
  • 0 drinks with added sugar, more water and low fat milk. Children ages 1 to 6 should consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day and kids 7 to 18 no more than 8 to 12 ounces.

Ready, Set, Go! is modeled after a successful program in Maine – called Let’s Go-Maine! Health leaders in Pierce County hope to increase the proportion of Pierce County youth, ages 0 to 18 at a healthy weight.

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and health care providers in our community are seeing an increase of pediatric patients who are overweight, which leads to other health issues.

Nationally, about 60 percent of overweight children ages 5 to 10 have at least one cardiovascular risk factor associated with being overweight, including hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, abnormal glucose metabolism and elevated blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes has risen 33 percent in children between the ages of 6 and 11. In Pierce County, about 16 percent of eighth graders are overweight and 11 percent are obese, according to the Healthy Youth Survey conducted in 2010.

The Tacoma-Pierce County ACHIEVE coalition started in 2008 under a cooperative grant from the Centers for Disease Control and the YMCA of the USA to reduce childhood obesity within the Key Peninsula and the City of Tacoma. Members include Pierce County Medical Society, Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept. MultiCare Health System & Center for Healthy Living, Franciscan Health System, YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap County and Pierce Transit.

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