By Emily Crowe
CNJ STAFF WRITER
Kindergartners at Mesa Elementary were decked out in gym clothes Thursday morning as they jumped rope, played hackey sack, and learned the importance of eating a balanced meal.
Students in each grade level at the school participated in the 5-2-1-0 health fair Thursday, which teaches elementary students the importance of eating five or more fruits and vegetables, getting two hours or less of screen time, being active for one hour, and drinking lots of water each day.
According to Mitch Gray, Curry County Healthy Kids coordinator, the 5-2-1-0 program is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program providing a 21-day challenge that encourages each of those behaviors every day.
Gray has been implementing the program for the past two years and said it has reached 92 percent of elementary students in Curry County, including Clovis Municipal Schools and Texico schools.
Mesa physical education teacher Miranda Bonney said many of her students, including kindergartner Joaquin Sanchez, take the message of the 5-2-1-0 challenge seriously and even get their families involved.
“He really took it to heart,” Bonney said of Sanchez. “In fact, he went home and he said ,‘mom and dad, I’ve already spent this much time on the computer, now it’s time to get up and go.’ And he gets them moving.”
Julie Howell, principal at Mesa, said the health fair and 5-2-1-0 challenge are positive and engaging for her students.
“Healthy kids are happy kids and healthy kids are smart kids,” she said. “It enables them to exercise a lot and get their brains going and help them in the classroom.”
Students also got to taste apples, put together a healthy, balanced plate of food, and play Chinese jump rope, all in the spirit of getting them to think about making healthy choices.
“They get so excited about all this,” Bonney said. “They just love it.”