New program in Nanaimo hopes to simplify how to live healthy

By Spencer Sterritt
May 31, 2017 - 3:39pm

A program ambassador demonstrating how much sugar is actually in a common sugary drink.5210 Nanaimo/Facebook

NANAIMO — A new healthy living strategy wants to spare you from the complicated and overwhelming health advice you'll get if you Google “weight loss” or “getting fit.”

The 5-2-1-0 message stands for five fruits or vegetables, two hours or less of recreational use in front of a screen, one hour of activity and zero sugary drinks a day. It's being run by the City of Nanaimo, the Regional District of Nanaimo and Island Health.

“I think the general public gets quite confused about what to do with exercise and TV and sleep and everything,” recreation coordinator Tara Fedosoff told NanaimoNewsNOW. “It's really about simplifying the message and all speaking the same language so everyone understands things they can do in their own life that will help them with their health and wellness.” 



Dr. Derek Poteryko, the medical director of community health in Nanaimo and partner on the program, said it's important to make healthy messages as easy to understand and follow as possible since so few people hit their goals.

He said less than 50 per cent of Canadians have five fruits or vegetables a day and only 20 per cent exercise for an hour or more a day.

“We cite busy lifestyles, so we're encouraging people to make time and space for exercise, which is as important as brushing your teeth. It's a culture change, but the 5-2-1-0 message is a good starting point.

“It puts the doctor out of business, which is wonderful,” he joked.

Six ambassadors from VIU's Nanaimo campus are out speaking to youth and adults about the message at community centres, libraries and schools.

Dr. Poteryko said they've seen a strong and enthusiastic response since the program got underway at the beginning of May.


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