By Lauren Kollauf on Friday, October 1, 2021


5-2-1-0 in Northwest Iowa

Cherokee, Sergeant Bluff, Spencer & Storm Lake

There are some exciting 5-2-1-0 funded projects happening in northwest Iowa!

5210Cherokee, Sergeant Bluff, Spencer, Storm Lake are a few of the communities across the state currently receiving grant funding from the Iowa Department of Health to support the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! initiative. 

Each of the communities have used the funds to create unique opportunities and make sustainable changes in their community environments that support healthy eating and active living for their residents. Take a look at how Cherokee, Sergeant Bluff, Spencer and Storm Lake make Healthy Choices Count!


Cherokee County

The Cherokee Community School District and Hy-Vee partnered to create a community garden on land between the two sites. Raised beds were constructed by the high school shop class and Hy-Vee works with K-12 students to plant and harvest the garden.

"The rolling produce harvested from the garden beds will benefit the school’s nutrition education and the community’s fresh produce availability," said Victoria Halloran, grant administrator for Cherokee. "These gardens increase students’ access to hands-on nutrition education and offer outdoor classrooms for students."

Community members are also able to pick and take home produce grown in the gardens and excess produce will be donated to the food pantry. As the garden programming grows, picnic tables will be added to host outdoor classrooms.

MORE: Learn about Cherokee's other 5-2-1-0 projects

Sergeant Bluff

Woodbury County

The NEOS 360 is an interactive piece of playground equipment that was recently installed in  Sergeant Bluff's newest park. Players can choose from multiple games which prompts the NEOS 360 to display lights and play music.  

"Kids of all ages gather at the NEOS 360 for lots of fun, laughter and physical activity," said Lexi Dolentina, Assistant Parks & Recreation Director. "Thanks to this 5-2-1-0 funded project, we have been able to provide another opportunity for our community to get out and moving while playing with an electronic piece of equipment."

The height of the buttons on the NEOS 360 are also within reach for players of all ages and abilities. This aligns with the City of Sergeant Bluff’s Master Park Plan which calls for more unique ADA-accessible playground equipment. 

MORE: Learn about Sergeant Bluff's other 5-2-1-0 projects


Clay County

Winnie’s Playscape at Oneota Park is a project that Clay County Conservation has been developing for the community over several years. The natural playscape is nearly an acre in size and features a log swing, sand pit, tunnels and rock pile in a wooded environment.

"The playscape offers opportunities for children to connect with natural resources and environmental sciences," said Will Horsley, Clay County Conservation Director. The latest addition to Winnie's Playscape is a child-safe water pump installed using 5-2-1-0 grant funds.

"The water feature has proven to be an essential component to the playscape. It promotes physical fitness, stimulates creativity, and encourages mental development among youth participants," said Horsley. "The water feature also helps children improve their motor skills as they engage all their senses while traversing through the playscape."

MORE: Learn about Spencer's other 5-2-1-0 projects

Storm Lake

Buena Vista County

The Bridge of Storm Lake is an organization which provides a variety of youth programming, including the Cultivate Training Garden and a newly-remodeled kitchen space that will be used to bring together members of the community from different cultural backgrounds. 

"5-2-1-0 has given us a place to experience healthy cooking and a common language to talk with youth about eating better and moving more – important habits that will help them live well," said Shelly Rock, executive director and youth advocate. "We love walking alongside them and helping them figure this out."

In addition to their own programs, The Bridge also hopes to use their kitchen space in partnership with a local community health center to host nutrition and healthy food preparation courses and hold other "garden to table" community cooking classes.

MORE: Learn about Storm Lake's other 5-2-1-0 projects

Learn more about 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! 

logo 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.