5-2-1-0 WINS!

By Lauren Kollauf on Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Waterloo creates healthier environments with 5-2-1-0

As one of Iowa's larger metropolitan areas, Waterloo is home to many different efforts to improve health outcomes not just within the city but throughout the Cedar Valley region.

Many of the organizations working to encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles got the opportunity to gather around the same table last fall when Waterloo was selected for a 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! grant.

RELATED: Meet the 5-2-1-0 funded communities

Waterloo was one of 14 communities across the state receiving an Iowa Department of Public Health grant in FY20. Community leaders, guided by the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, held roundtable discussions to determine priorities and ultimately decided to divide the funds between multiple projects to support healthier environments in the city's schools, parks and local farmers market.

Here are some of the projects that were funded in Waterloo with 5-2-1-0 funds:

Spreading education at the farmers market

For many years, DaQuan Campbell, market manager at the Waterloo Urban Farmers Market, has been working to spread awareness about the various benefit programs that can be utilized to purchase healthy food at the market.


"Many people receive SNAP benefits, but don't know they can use them at the market. That’s always been a point of focus for me and the farmers," said Campbell.

The Waterloo Urban Farmers Market participates in benefit programs including: SNAP EBT, WIC, senior vouchers and Double Up Food Bucks.

RELATED: Double Up Food Bucks locations in Waterloo

Campbell developed a central information booth to better educate customers about the programs. With 5-2-1-0 funds, he was able to purchase information banners, A-frame signage and yard signs that can be placed around the market.

"We are helping our customers develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle by being knowledgeable about how they can take home more fruits and vegetables," said Campbell.

'Chef Caddy' kits for elementary classrooms

Health educators within Black Hawk County Health Department advocated for the purchase of tools for schools that would expand nutrition education and encourage fruit and vegetable consumption. "Chef Caddy" kits were purchased for Cunningham, Lincoln and Irving elementary schools which all have on-site school gardens.

"Often teachers would have to bring in the materials themselves if they wanted to teach a cooking lesson," said Clarissa Klostermann, FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member. Now, multiple Chef Caddy kits are available to teachers to use in the classroom.

5-2-1-0 STORIES: Grinnell | Hampton | Missouri Valley | Storm Lake | Cherokee

Each caddy includes a veggie peeler, spatulas, spreading tool, kid-safe knives, whisk, tongs, spoons, spatula, rolling pin, measuring cups and measuring spoons. Klostermann also put together a presentation with lesson plan ideas that incorporate the tools and produce grown in the garden.

"The Chef Caddy provides another opportunity and tool for educators to re-enforce the '5' in 5-2-1-0 and build positive relationships with healthy foods in the classroom," said Klostermann.

Making parks healthier places to exercise

In February 2020, the City of Waterloo enacted a new Tobacco and Nicotine-Free Parks Policy which includes electronic smoking devices. To raise public awareness about the new policy, signs were installed in parks across the city. 5-2-1-0 funding helped paid for the sign posts and mounting hardware.


"It is a positive impact to not be exposing our citizens to second-hand smoke or smokeless nicotine products. It’s a documented health benefit to make our parks healthier and safer," said Huting. "By creating an outdoor park environment that is free of smoke, that makes it a healthier place to exercise."

Since the signs were installed, Leisure Services Director Paul Huting says no complaints about smokers in parks have been reported. Huting's department also operates the Cedar Valley Sportsplex, a comprehensive wellness center which opened in 2013 as a result of public-private partnership to improve the health of Waterloo citizens. 

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

logo5-2-1-0 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.