Keosauqua brings 5-2-1-0 with the Villages of Van Buren County
Keosauqua, the largest town in the Villages of Van Buren County, is known for its historic charm and scenic locale along the Des Moines River. With a nearby state park, water trails and recent youth sports complex improvements, they also want to be known for caring about the health and wellness of their community members.
Van Buren County Hospital, located in Keosauqua, launched its Healthy Villages initiative in 2008 and since then has made efforts to maintain mini fitness centers around the county, launch a farmers market in Keosauqua and promote other health-related information through email, events and social media.
In 2018, the community of Keosauqua learned they would receive grant funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health to support the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! campaign.
RELATED: Meet the communities who received 5-2-1-0 grants
"It was a really big help to boost efforts that were already happening to take them to the next level," said Holly Berg, Regional Planner for Area 15 Regional Planning Commission.
Here are some of the projects Keosauqua was able to accomplish in their first year of funding:
Supporting Van Buren County schools
Funds were given to Van Buren County High School to help their student-run greenhouse become operational. Benches, shelves and other start-up supplies were purchased.
"Starting the plants from seeds with the hopes to harvest vegetables in the fall is a project the kids have loved working on," said Samantha Godwin, a teacher involved with the project. "I (hope to) continue to educate students about healthy foods as well as where and how their foods are grown."
In addition to increasing access to healthy foods, the school district was also able to use the 5-2-1-0 funds to increase physical activity opportunities for elementary students. Yard games were purchased for use during recess time and have been a popular addition.
Making water more accessible
Reusable water bottles were purchased for all children who attend child care programs in Keosauqua. New bottles with easy-to-use lids and fun colors were chosen to get the children excited about drinking water.
"Those were a big hit over the summer," said Amanda Payne, Community Wellness Coordinator, Van Buren County Hospital. "The kids could take them out to the playground, and since the outdoor area is lacking water access the kids could get a drink as needed. It was more easily accessible."
The Van Buren County Hospital Child Care & Preschool implemented a water access policy to their student handbook to ensure sustainability. Water access was increased around the community as well. New water bottle filling stations were installed at the Riverfront Park and the Ferguson Sports Complex.
New projects on the horizon
Keosauqua will again receive state funds this fiscal year to support 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! strategies and they have already began exploring what projects they want to tackle next. The community completed a Safe Routes to School assessment earlier this year which provided some inspiration for those involved.
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"It opened up a whole new discussion of things that could be done," said Berg. "Downtown and school pedestrian safety and revitalization is on the horizon for this upcoming year. It was exciting to get another round of funding to potentially fund some of these ideas."
Learn more about 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!
5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a health-focused movement for kids that’s under the nationally recognized program, 5-2-1-0. It all starts by encouraging them to eat and play the right way.
This proven, scientific method helps keep kids healthy by focusing on the importance of four habits:
- 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
- 2 hours or less of screen time (television, computer, video games, phones, etc.)
- 1 hour or more of physical activity
- 0 (or reduce) sugar-sweetened beverages - drink more water!
To learn more about how you can get your community, workplace, school, health care clinic or child care site involved in 5-2-1-0, click here.