Family having a picnic

5210 Healthy Military Children

If you want a winning combination for healthy kids, try 5210. Get them started on a healthy path with an easy-to-remember plan.

What does 5210 stand for? That number reminds children and their families to eat FIVE or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, closely monitor and limit screen time for children TWO years and older, get ONE or more hours of vigorous physical activity and drink ZERO sweetened beverages.

To help you put the 5210 plan into action, the Department of Defense offers 5210 Healthy Military Children tip sheets. The sheets offer scads (that's a real number) of concrete suggestions for families and those who work with military kids. The tip sheets are grounded in work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense's Office of Family Readiness Policy and were developed in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University.


You can make simple lifestyle changes at home and while shopping and eating out, such as:

  • Walking or riding your bike to the commissary with your kids when you only have a few items on your shopping list.
  • Serving sparkling water or still water with slices of lemon instead of sweetened beverages.
  • Socializing with friends and each other over physical activities rather than meals.
  • Opting for restaurants that offer healthy choices.
  • Helping your children find activities to enjoy that don't involve screens

5210 Tip sheets for families

Child care providers, teachers and youth center personnel

Working with kids means you have a captive audience to model good habits and teach healthy lessons. All children, no matter their size, benefit from eating enough fruits and vegetables, reducing their screen time, being physically active and avoiding sweetened beverages.

  • Make sure water is readily available to thirsty kids.
  • Organize games that allow everyone to be active, regardless of how athletic they are.
  • Have the kids plan, plant and harvest a vegetable garden.
  • Replace food-related fundraisers with ones that encourage physical activity, like walk-a-thons.
  • Use nutrition lessons to meet standards in core subjects like math, science and health.

5210 tip sheets for child care providers, teachers and youth center personnel

For leaders and professionals

You're in a position to make healthy changes that filter down to families. Join the 5210 campaign and help make a difference in the lives of military children.

  • Urge parents to remove screens from children's bedrooms and turn off phones and TVs during mealtimes.
  • Establish community gardens and farmers markets to increase access to fruits and vegetables.
  • Walk during lunch breaks.
  • Look into establishing a farm-to-work partnership at your workplace.
  • Schedule walking meetings when there's a small number of attendees.

5210 Tip sheets for leaders and professionals

Whether you're a parent, a leader, someone who works with military children or a combination of all three, place your bet on 5210.