Imlay City Schools implements 5-2-1-0 challenge aimed at encouraging healthy habits for youths

Kindergarten students in Joanne Majerle’s class take to the track during last week’s ACES (All Students Exercise Simultaneously) Day. In addition to school-related activities, the district wants to encourage families to make healthy choices through the 5-2-1-0 Challenge that launches on Monday, May 13. photo by Devon Caudill.

IMLAY CITY — When Monday, May 13 dawns, the 5-2-1-0 Challenge for Imlay City students and their families officially begins.

For the next five weeks, Imlay City Schools’ Wellness Committee has challenged their school community to focus on making healthy choices by following the 5-2-1-0 model—eat 5 or more fruits and veggies, have 2 hours or less of screen time, engage in 1 hour or more of physical activity and consume 0 sugary drinks and instead drink more water.

Families will be asked to track their progress during the Challenge and then submit their results to the school to be entered into a drawing for prizes.

Jenny Buhl-Hagey, chairperson of the Wellness Committee, said the 5-2-1-0 Challenge has been embraced and practiced by schools and community organizations across the country with great success and they’re confident the program make an impact in Imlay City too.

“This challenge gives families an easy and effective way to approach better health where making better choices becomes routine,” the committee states in a letter to parents.

“Children’s health is directly related to their happiness, to their performance in school and to other positive life outcomes. Healthy children tend to become healthy, happy adults. This is something we all want for our children and families of our school community.”

Over the last few weeks, flyers have been sent home with students that provide background information and tips for each of the four challenge choices. Information has covered things like serving size equivalents for fruits and veggies, activity ideas that can replace screen time and examples of sugary drinks.

The committee has also sought to remind families of the opportunity to get moving while on school grounds.

“Imlay City Schools has outdoor areas, sidewalks and service drives for walking after school hours, tennis courts, playground equipment and more—all of which is open to families after the school day,” they wrote in a flyer.

Buhl-Hagey said the Wellness Committee is actually hoping to expand those on campus offerings and they’ve applied for grant funding to create a ‘Spartan Circuit.’

“This would consist of outdoor fitness stations that our students, staff, families and community could use regardless of age or physical activity. This project is in the works but our goal would be to implement it sometime next school year if we receive our grant funding,” she said.

Currently, the school offers sports programs at the middle and high school levels. Borland Elementary has been home to a running club for about 10 years and recently added dodge ball to their roster of after school enrichment classes. Annually, Weston Elementary and the Middle School participate in ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) each


More information on the 5-2-1-0 Challenge can be found on the district’s website,