Caring for Kids…at Billings Clinic

The 5210 Formula

Nope, it’s not a zip code. 5210 is a basic formula to help kids achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  This is a great guide for healthy living but is most effective if the whole family makes an effort to commit to healthy changes.  No fair pushing apples on the kids while you eat Twinkies!

www.healthybydesignyellowstone.org5 – Five servings of fruits or vegetables a day.  Fresh fruit and veggies are best.  Only a small portion should be fruit alternatives like juices (see #0).  Be Make fruits and vegetables fun by shaping them into your children's favorite characters. creative with ideas like apples dipped in yogurt, veggies in spaghetti sauce, banana animals (thank you, Pinterest), or ranch on just about anything!  Don’t worry, 5 servings doesn’t mean 5 full apples.  Preschoolers should have about a cup each of fruits and veggies each day, school age kids, 1.5 cups, and teens (and adults), 2 cups each. For more ideas, checkout or

2 – Two hours or less of screen time a day. Did you hear the collective groan of children everywhere?  Screen time means all screen time, including TV, computer, smartphone, and video games.  You will be amazed when you turn off the screen. Kids tend to find something active to do instead.  Here’s an idea: turn on the music instead and maybe a spontaneous dance party will break out. Remember, kids less than 2 years of age should not have any screen time.

1 – One hour of exercise every day.  Exercise doesn’t have to mean structured activity or a trip to the gym. Physical activity includes walks with the family, trips to the park, playing outside, and even chores (hearing the groaning again).

0 –  Zero sugary drinks. That’s right, we said zero. This of course includes soda, but did you know it also means drinks advertised as “healthy” juice, fruit smoothies (just eat the fruit), sweet teas, and sports drinks?  A 12 ounce soda has 150 calories and apple juice has 135 calories. Several drinks a day can really add up to a lot of extra, empty calories.

5210 can help you look at specific areas of daily living to find ways to be healthier. As you implement this formula, you might even find that you’re doing a lot of great things already. Getting into healthy habits can be a challenge, but start small and pretty soon you’ll be a 5210 family!

Billings Clinic is sharing the 5210 message across Yellowstone County in collaboration with our partners in the Healthy By Design coalition for community health improvement. Check out for more helpful info. 

Kathryn Lysinger, MD

I am a part-time pediatrician and full-time mom of 5 year old Jacob and 3 year old Lauren. After several years away in the “big city” my husband Jeri and I are excited to be back home in Montana. When not working I love to travel, cook and can’t wait to get the entire family back on the slopes in my hometown Red Lodge, MT.

Join the conversation:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Our Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.