In a quiet corner of a small state -- Keene, N.H. has a vision to be the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020. To achieve this goal, the community must first overcome tough obstacles like childhood obesity, which threatens to increase kids' risk factors for chronic diseases like cancer. To protect and improve children's health, three pillars in this classic New England community (a company, a hospital and a school) are joining forces to reduce children's weight problems using an innovative but simple approach.

Together, they are introducing a catchy formula -- 5-2-1-0. The slogan 5-2-1-0 serves as a guide for families to manage healthy eating, exercise and screen time. The comprehensive approach also serves as a model for other communities seeking to work together to tackle this growing public health problem.
C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. provided the funding, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene offered the clinical care and the public school system presented a daily environment where children can practice, embrace and celebrate healthy living.

In schools, on playgrounds and in homes throughout the area, families are taking action by pledging to:
5 - Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
2 - Cut screen time to two hours or less a day (includes television, computer and video games).
1 - Participate in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
0 - Restrict soda and sugar-sweetened sports and fruit drinks. Instead, drink water and three to four servings of fat-free (skim) or 1% milk.

The 5-2-1-0 program is one aspect of a larger wellness movement in the rural region of New Hampshire's Cheshire County, which has adopted Vision 2020, a community-wide goal to become the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020.

To support Vision 2020 and programs like 5-2-1-0, C&S Wholesale Grocers gave a portion of the proceeds from its 23rd annual Charity Golf Outing to Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene.

"Providing this support to the hospital is a step toward transforming the overall health of families in our corporate headquarters community," said Rick Cohen, chairman and CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers. "Vision 2020 is a bold program and we want to be a part of reaching its goals, particularly as they relate to area kids."

With the C&S charitable donation, CMC/DHK will expand its services to improve and protect the health of children in southwestern New Hampshire, a region of about 70,000 people. C&S employs 750 at its headquarters in Keene.

"Too few people understand the connection between obesity and cancer," said John Schlegelmilch, chief medical officer for Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. "Being overweight and inactive as a child and then into adulthood increases the risk for certain cancers, such as colon and breast cancer."

Schlegelmilch recommends immediate action against childhood obesity to protect children from preventable illnesses later in life.

The 5-2-1-0 program includes clinical assessments, protocols and registries, which will be implemented by Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene's Department of Pediatrics, called Children's Hospital at Dartmouth or CHaD in Keene, some of which were developed by the Foundation for Healthy Communities in New Hampshire as part of a statewide prevention effort. The 5-2-1-0 program is based on a review of national reports, evidence-based research and promising practices, and carries the endorsement of the New Hampshire Childhood Obesity Expert Panel.

The donation from C&S Wholesale Grocers helps fund a range of programs and services, including school wellness policy implementation consultation, school outreach, pediatric clinical assessments and parent/child wellness classes.