Who We Are:
The 5-4-3-2-1-Go!™ Program with youth in the Dallas zip codes 75216 and 75217 to help us take up more active, healthy lifestyles through nutrition education and physical exercise. We’re mostly 4th, 5th and 6th graders making progress and having fun getting fit. Our parents are involved, learning about healthier eating options. After school and as part summer programs, we’ve been exercising, learning all sorts of routines and focusing on what it takes to be healthier. Our coaches and mentors teach us new exercises and active games. It’s not easy for us (and our parents) because we live in an area that has few grocery stores and fresh food options.
The message we’ve learned is as easy as 5-4-3-2-1 Go!: 5 servings of vegetables a day, 4 servings of water, 3 servings of low-fat dairy, 2 hours or less of screen time a day and 1 or more hours of physical activity a day.
Results: We’ve all been charted to check our progress: age, height, weight and Body Mass Indexes (BMI). Each of us was pre-tested on our knowledge about nutrition and healthy lifestyles as well. Our initial results show that our BMI is decreasing while our fit knowledge is increasing. That’s good, and shows our real progress.
Our leaders have been trained at all locations in a train the trainer method, so there’s always someone to lead our activities.
Our parents have participated in four focus groups (two in each zip code area) and receive information about 5-4-3-2-1Go! activities. It’s tough for them because many of them work long hours just to meet basic needs. We live in areas that are known as “food deserts” where’s it’s difficult to obtain better food options. Our parents became more receptive when our leaders assured them the program is an opportunity to help us get and remain healthy.
What we do:
Besides our increased physical activities and knowledge of how to eat healthier, we’re looking forward to a back to school tailgate party. Our parents and we help plan and prepare the menus, and we all will get together to celebrate our healthy choices. By December, we’ll have a toolkit with a CD with information and resources and a DVD demonstrating physical activities and exercise such as core strengthening, resistance training and stretching techniques.
We started last January with a grant from Aetna, with 250 involved youngsters this fall. We use the message of the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! program, which was created by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). 5-4-3-2-1 Go! functions seamlessly within the 16-year-old Community Youth Development Program operated by the Community Council of Greater Dallas. Community Youth Development operates after school and out-of-school programs in two zip code areas with the highest juvenile crime rates in Dallas. The overall program provides positive alternatives to prevent juvenile delinquency: leadership skills training, athletics, healthy activities and mentoring to more than 2,000 youth per year. The Community Council serves as the fiscal agent, service provider and contractor to community-based organizations working with these youth. Children involved in Community Youth Development activities remain 98 percent arrest free.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Go! program helps us avoid childhood obesity. Studies have shown that an overweight 12-year-old has a 75 percent chance of becoming an overweight or obese adult, and the problem is even greater in Texas. One-third of Texas school children are overweight or obese, the second highest rate in the nation. Texas school children have an almost 50 percent higher occurrence of being overweight than a representative sample of U. S. children.
This program helps us become healthy now, which means we have a better chance for healthy futures, and we will be able to create a legacy of health for generations to come.
The 5-4-3-2-2-1 Go! message was created by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). 5-4-3-2-1 Go!™ is a registered trademark and Copyright© 2004 Children’s Memorial Hospital. All rights reserved.