Sergeant Bluff didn't wait for 5-2-1-0 to start making healthy changes
Sergeant Bluff has been focused for the past several years on initiatives to make their community a healthier and safer place to live. As one of the fastest growing cities in the Sioux City metro, Sergeant Bluff wants to provide its flourishing community with opportunities to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
The community of nearly 5,000 has been working with Siouxland Public Health officials and Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council as they implement Safe Routes to Schools and Complete Streets policies, as well as offer healthier snacks in community vending machines and build new sidewalks and trails.
Sergeant Bluff is one of 16 communities across the state receiving 5-2-1-0 funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health in FY21. When the Woodbury County community was selected to receive a 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! grant, city leaders saw it as "another layer" to efforts that are already underway.
RELATED: Meet the towns receiving 5-2-1-0 funds
"One of the reasons Sergeant Bluff is so successful, is they’ve already done a lot of the foundational work and they didn’t wait for this grant to get started – they were already working on initiatives focused on creating healthy habits and options in the community," said Victoria Halloran, grant administrator with SIMPCO.
Here are some of the projects that were funded in Sergeant Bluff with 5-2-1-0 funds:
More water bottle filling stations
One of the ways Sergeant Bluff-Luton Schools helped to limit COVID-19 exposure over the past year was to prevent drinking fountain use. Instead, students were encouraged to use personal water bottles. However, the Primary (K-2) and Elementary (3-5) buildings only had standard drinking fountains.
"Through this grant, we identified that as a high-need area. We were able to purchase the water bottle refilling stations," said Jenni McCrory, Sergeant Bluff-Luton Elementary School Principal. "Kids love using it and keep up their hydration all day long."
Water bottle filling stations were purchased for the Sergeant Bluff Recreation Center, which previously only had standard drinking fountains, where several school and community recreation and sports activities are hosted.
Expand park programming
A disc golf course was installed in Spring 2020 in Sergeant Bluff. So far the course has been popular, so the community used 5-2-1-0 funds to purchase equipment that novice disc golfers can rent from the recreation center in order to increase accessibility to the course.
Another new recreation opportunity that was added in Sergeant Bluff thanks to 5-2-1-0 funds was snowshoeing. The city purchased both adult and kids' sizes with the hopes it could become a family activity.
RELATED: Ottumwa's 5-2-1-0 success story
"We don't have a lot of outdoor activities in the winter time," said Brent Brown, Sergeant Bluff Parks & Recreation Director. "It's a really unique opportunity for the area. A lot of people probably have never even tried it."
To help introduce the community to the sport, Brown said his department hopes to offer regular snowshoeing classes on Saturdays for the public and invite the Sergeant Bluff-Luton P.E. classes to use them.
NEOS 360 installation
The city recently purchased a park at 901 First Street and decided to design the park with accessibility in mind. All of the park's planned amenities – including a basketball court, shelter, restrooms, splash pad and green space – will be ADA-accessible.
With the help of 5-2-1-0 funds, the city has also purchased a NEOS 360 game system for the playground. The NEOS 360 is an interactive game system with eight games, lights and music. The equipment is unique for the area.
"Indoor gaming is very popular, but this is a game you can play outdoors," said Brown. "It makes you move and is very fun." Construction on the park is underway and installation of the NEOS 360 is slated to begin in mid-May.
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.