BRUNSWICK — 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! is a state-wide program coordinated by Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland that creates a culture of health and wellness through awareness, education and environmental changes.

The Let’s Go! program encourages children to make healthy choices by eating five or more fruits and vegetables per day; limiting screen time to two hours per day; engaging in one hour or more of physical activity per day; and limiting sugar sweetened beverages to zero by choosing water or low fat milk instead.

Let’s Go! works in a variety of settings to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and physical activity where people live, learn, work, and play. As the local dissemination partner for 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go!, Mid Coast Hospital assists local schools, daycares, out-of-school programs, and work sites to create environments that encourage and support healthy eating and physical activity opportunities for children.

To help youth reach the Let’s Go! goals, Mid Coast Hospital regularly awards grants to local schools. 2017 grant projects included one at Brunswick High School, where John Riggleman and students created a thriving garden. Students were outside and moving while learning about locally grown foods and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their daily diet.

Diana Hixon, Let’s Go! Champion at Bath Middle School, used her grant to acquire archery supplies, including targets and arrows, allowing Bath Middle School to hold a state-wide archery club competition, as well as provide students a chance to teach their parents during a popular family archery night held at the school.

Woolwich Central School purchased an ice rink liner to ensure that students will continue to access the school’s rink this coming winter.

Dike-Newell Elementary School in Bath sent second grade students to Mt. Abrams for Downhill Ski Day. Students received both instruction and practice.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary and Brunswick Junior High School used their grants to increase access to water for students and staff by installing water bottle filling stations. In less than one school year, fountains and filling stations at the junior high filled the equivalent 3,806 plastic, disposable water bottles.

Phippsburg Elementary School offered yoga classes, taught by a certified yoga instructor, to all students on late start Wednesday mornings.

Morse High School in Bath used their funds to offer Morse in Motion, an after school fitness program designed to engage students who do not usually participate in school sports. Students were able to participate in either a six-week series of yoga classes at Ebb and Flow or Fiesta Dance classes at Tony’s Dance Studio.

Coffin Elementary School used their funds to create a 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! mural in their lunchroom. The project was a collaborative effort between the art instructor and students at Coffin and Brunswick Junior High students. The four-panel mural depicts a variety of ways for kids to be active and reinforces the Let’s Go! message.

Each year, the team at Mid Coast Hospital looks forward to seeing how these grants can help reinforce healthy choices and contribute to healthier environments in our schools.

Melissa Fochesato is director of community health promotion at the Mid Coast Center for Community Health and Wellness, which provides quality, evidence-based prevention and wellness support, information and resources through technical assistance, classes, clinical care, workshops, support groups, literature and online resources for an array of important issues for all ages.