Live 5-2-1-0 Playboxes help BC kids stay active this summer

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Dr. Shazhan Amed

Look out for Live 5-2-1-0 Playboxes in parks and gathering spots across BC this summer. Part of BC Children’s Hospital’s innovative Live 5-2-1-0 initiative, the boxes contain sports and play equipment to encourage kids to spend less time in front of electronic screens and more time playing actively outdoors. First installed in three Abbotsford parks in 2014, the boxes can now be found in communities including Hope, Chilliwack, Nanaimo and Delta. In June, 2016, New Westminster became the latest city to sign on.

The Live 5-2-1-0 initiative promotes a simple message to help kids stay healthy: Every day, enjoy five or more fruits and vegetables, have no more than two hours of screen time, play actively for one hour, and consume zero sugary drinks. SCOPE (Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention through Community Engagement) is the backbone organization at BC Children’s Hospital that endorses and coordinates the Live 5-2-1-0 initiative in BC.

In many BC communities, the Playboxes are one example of environmental change communities are taking to support the Live 5-2-1-0 initiative, which is an all-of-community approach to promoting healthy behaviours among children,” says Dr. Shazhan Amed, Project Lead and founder of SCOPE, Clinical Associate Professor in the UBC department of Pediatrics, and Pediatric Endocrinologist and Investigator at BC Children’s Hospital. “We know that every sector of a community must get involved in order to truly make an impact on the health of children.” Live 5-2-1-0 is not limited to Playboxes, but is also being supported across all sectors of a community including the local government, primary health care, and even media.

In addition to sports equipment, the Playboxes include instructions for children’s games in order to support parents in learning how to play actively with their kids. “Children and families have forgotten how to play actively,” says Dr. Amed. “When we were young, we learned games and songs by watching the older kids play. But because kids have stopped playing, this kind of active play is becoming obsolete.”

Promoting healthy weights in children will prevent them from developing serious chronic diseases in young adulthood.

“Twenty years ago, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in a child was unheard of. Today, depending on the area, it can account for up to 50 per cent of all cases of diabetes in kids. The good news is, we know we can prevent this disease by preventing childhood obesity,” Dr. Amed says.

Live 5-2-1-0 began in 2009 as a pilot project in two communities, and SCOPE is now responding to interest from more than 12 additional BC communities that want to implement Live 5-2-1-0. Dr. Amed and her colleagues are currently exploring ways to scale up the program to meet this growing demand and bring Live 5-2-1-0 to communities across the province.

Funding:

This research was made possible by support from BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the BC Ministry of Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Public Health Agency of Canada, Childhood Obesity Foundation, Provincial Health Services Authority and Child Health BC.

Key Partners:

  • Community Partners: Chilliwack Division of Family Practice, City of Abbotsford, East Kootenay Division of Family Practice, Fraser Valley Regional District
  • Provincial and Regional Partners: Healthy Families BC, Provincial Health Services Authority, Fraser Health Authority, MEND and ShapeDown BC, Doctors of BC, Childhood Obesity Foundation, Child Health BC