NORTH CONWAY, NH – Let’s Go! Mt. Washington Valley announced today that 10 schools, five out-of-school programs, four child care programs, and three health care practices in Mount Washington Valley are being recognized for creating places in which unhealthy food choices, sugar drinks and screen time are limited and physical activity is encouraged. A total of 22 sites are prioritizing healthy habits, by making the healthy choice the easy choice. Let’s Go! Mt. Washington Valley will be highlighting school initiatives and recognition levels on social media.
“The program has been expanded considerably here in the valley. Teachers, childcare providers and out-of-school programs such as libraries and community centers are registering with Let’s Go! and we are seeing an increase in healthy habits across the board,” said Heather Phillips, Community Health Program Manager at Memorial Hospital and Let’s Go! Coordinator for Mt. Washington Valley. “We’re proud to report that fruit and vegetable consumption is higher among students at Let’s Go! schools and 93% of the sites we’ve recognized have limited or eliminated sugary drinks, and increased physical activity.”
Introduced in 2012, the Let’s Go! recognition program identifies and celebrates schools, out-of-school programs, child care programs and health care practices for their role in improving the health of all children. The program focuses on sustainable change. A Bronze award reflects a site implementing the program’s five, evidence-based priority strategies, Silver acknowledges a site that has communicated these changes to parents and family members. Gold, the highest level of recognition, is reserved for sites that have written all five priority strategies into policy.
Let’s Go! is also recognizing school cafeterias for their contributions to cultivating good health and note many local school nutrition programs are working on registering as a Let’s Go! Nutrition site. This furthers the commitment to develop innovative strategies to support healthy choices in their school communities. From new menu and recipe development to using behavioral economics in the lunchroom, school nutrition programs can make an impact on improving the health of students across the area.
“The 5-2-1-0 initiative delivers consistent messages of healthy eating and physical activity to children, families and providers throughout the community where they live, learn, work and play starting at the pediatrician's office to school, and throughout the greater community. Taking care of them today is an investment in the future,” furthers Phillips.
Danielle Nutting, Principal at Let’s Go! Gold site John Fuller Elementary School, says “at John Fuller Elementary School we have been so happy to partner with Memorial Hospital and 5-2-1-0 Let's Go! for the last several years. Through our partnership we have been better able to promote healthy living for our students, staff and families. From water bottles to a refillable water bottle filling station to the JFS Winter Olympics to "Take a Break" activity stations in our hallways, the support of 5-2-1-0 is evident throughout our building.”
Of the 22 sites that Let’s Go! Mt. Washington Valley collaborates with, 73% met the criteria for recognition with the other 27% on their way.
Child care, school and out-of-school sites are recognized for three levels of commitment to Let’s Go!’s five priority strategies:
- Limit unhealthy choices for snacks and celebrations, provide healthy choices.
- Limit or eliminate sugary beverages, provide water.
- Prohibit the use of food as a reward.
- Provide opportunities for children to get physical activity every day.
- Limit recreational screen time.
Health care sites are recognized for three practice-specific obesity prevention program components:
- Providing consistent 5-2-1-0 messaging in offices.
- Calculating BMI for all patients aged 2 and older.
- Using the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits Questionnaire to have a respectful conversation about lifestyles with their patients.
School cafeterias’ recognition status is determined based on how many Smarter Lunchroom strategies they implemented during the school year. All strategies stem from behavioral economics and range from labeling vegetables with creative names to inviting a local “celebrity” to dine with students.
About Let’s Go!
Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program that reaches children and families where they live, learn, work and play. Let’s Go! is committed to changing environments and policies at child cares, schools, out-of-school programs, health care practices, workplaces and communities. The program’s multi-setting approach, daily 5-2-1-0 message (five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity and zero sugary drinks) and 10 evidence-based strategies are used to effect change across the state of Maine and in Mt. Washington Valley in New Hampshire. Strong leadership from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center and collaboration across health systems and community health coalitions contribute to the program’s success.