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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count - Healthy Iowa Communities

5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!, a public-private partnership, cultivates healthy places for Iowa children and families using evidence-based healthy eating and active living approaches. Working together, Iowa HHS and the Healthiest State Initiative provide strategic leadership, stakeholder management, community funding, and evaluation to the initiative.

5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Daily Recommendations


5 servings of fruits and vegetables 2 hours or less of recreational screen time 1 hour or more of physical activity 0 sugary drinks - drink more water


5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! provides communities, teachers, parents, child care providers, health care providers, and business leaders resources to increase physical activity and healthy eating through policy and environmental change.

“After installation of the water bottle filling station, I see more students bringing their water bottles to PE because it is now convenient to fill water bottles during PE class.” — PE Teacher at Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community Schools

How to Improve Your Community with 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!

The 5-2-1-0 multi-setting model allows early care and education programs, K-12 schools, out-of-school programs, and health care practices to unite in the goal of encouraging Iowa children to adopt healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Join an important network of sectors working towards healthier environments where young Iowans live, learn, and play. Get involved now!

The University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health’s 3-Part Webinar Series

Prevention Research Center for Rural Health-webinar-1-thumbnail Prevention Research Center for Rural Health-webinar-2-thumbnail Prevention Research Center for Rural Health-webinar-3-thumbnail

Part 1: Social Ecological Model and Policies, Systems, and Environment

This webinar gives an introduction to PSEs using the Socioecological Model as a framework.

Access Part 1

Part 2: More About Social Ecological Model and Policies, Systems, and Environment

The difference between direct education and PSE change is discussed. Example interventions and the importance of developing an “elevator speech” is covered.

Access Part 2

Part 3: Supporting Health Equity Through Community Engagement

Concepts of health equity, meaningful community engagement, and identifying community needs using an asset-based approach are covered in this webinar.

Access Part 3

Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategies for Iowa Kids & Communities

The 2022 Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategies for Iowa Guide (PDF) is published and is designed to provide background information on policy, systems and environmental practices to improve nutrition and physical activity access and availability, implementation considerations for new or existing programs, ideas for sustainability, and case studies describing how interventions can be adapted to diverse settings in Iowa.

Find all of the 5-2-1-0 registered sites, resources, monthly features, blogs, news, and more on the Healthiest State Initiative website.

Funding 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Communities

Iowa HHS provides funding and technical assistance to work with multi-sector community coalitions to make sustainable and equitable environmental and policy changes around 5-2-1-0 evidence-based strategies.

Funding for 5-2-1-0 Communities comes from the State of Iowa legislative budget allocated for childhood obesity prevention. Funding is provided in a three-year tiered allocation with first-year communities receiving $30,000, second-year communities $10,000, and third-year communities $5,000.

View the 2021 5-2-1-0 Community Success Report (PDF)

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2023 Community Participants

Read blog posts about the current communities below.

1st Year Communities

  • Davenport
  • Olin/Anamosa
  • Perry
  • Sioux City
  • Tama/Toledo

2nd Year Communities

  • Centerville
  • Keokuk
  • Leon
  • Oskaloosa
  • Postville

2022 Healthiest State Annual Award Winners

The 2022 Healthiest State annual award winners were announced on February 17, 2022, with finalists honored during an online award ceremony. The winners were recognized for their efforts to improve the physical, social, and emotional well-being of their students, employees, and fellow Iowans. Each winner was awarded a monetary prize to continue their work focused on improving the health and wellness at their site. The 2022 Healthiest State Annual Awards are sponsored by Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®, HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, Iowa HHS, Iowa Medical Society, and Malvern Bank.