Iowa has the fourth-highest adult obesity rate in the nation. Think about your workplace environment and whether you are combating or contributing to this epidemic:
• Does your employer provide healthy food for celebrations or meetings? 
• Are there accessible opportunities for physical activity during the workday? 
• How are employees being supported emotionally? 

Adult Iowans spend the majority of their waking hours at their places of employment. And, unfortunately, the workplace is often not an environment that encourages healthy behaviors. Pizza in the breakroom, hours of sitting at a desk and stress-inducing work are commonplace.

Employers should have a vested interest in the health of their employees because it is comes with a hefty price tag if they don’t. Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and health care costs in the nation, with the total ranging from $147 billion to $210 billion each year, including the costs of absenteeism and reduced productivity, according to a paper published by Brooks Jackson, dean of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. 

Iowa workplaces have a crucial role and responsibility to play in creating a happier and healthier state. As a local business leader in Greater Des Moines, you have an opportunity to make a difference by signing up your organization as a 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Registered Workplace.

Workplaces have the unique ability to positively influence healthy habits of both employees and the children in their lives through workplace wellness programming. As adults, we are the role models for our state’s future generations. The vitality and sustainability of Iowa’s workforce depends on reversing the trend and moving our state in a healthier direction.

No workplace is too big or too small to invest in workplace wellness. Many of the action items suggested by 5-2-1-0 in the Workplace are low- to no-cost opportunities. Not only will signing up as a 5-2-1-0 Registered Workplace improve the health of your employees and affect your bottom line, but your organization will join a multisector movement happening across the state. 

5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! was launched in October 2017 by Gov. Kim Reynolds as a childhood health initiative and is utilized statewide by communities, health care clinics, schools and early care sites. The message is backed by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Medical Society and other nonprofit organizations, as well as for-profit companies and state agencies. 

5-2-1-0 is a proven, scientific method that focuses on the importance of good habits. Healthy choices are encouraged with four numbers:
• 5 or more fruits or vegetables each day.
• 2 hours or less of recreational screen time.
• 1 hour or more of physical activity.
• 0 sugary drinks – drink more water!

More than 200 schools, early care sites, out-of-school programs and health care clinics have already registered. Now, 5-2-1-0 in the Workplace provides the opportunity for the message to be tailored for adults, so it reaches Iowans of all ages whether they are at school, visiting the doctor’s office or going to work. 

5-2-1-0 in the Workplace breaks down the key concepts of workplace wellness into the focus areas of Eat Well, Move More and Feel Better. Employers who register will fill out a survey to evaluate their current environment, be given resources to set goals and make changes, and then be reevaluated annually to determine progress. 

5-2-1-0 in the Workplace resources can be used to start a wellness program, enhance an existing one or evaluate past or current wellness efforts. Registration is free and can be completed at Registered workplaces will also receive statewide recognition, an exclusive quarterly newsletter and eligibility to apply for a Healthiest State Annual Workplace Award, among other benefits.

Perhaps most importantly, workplaces who sign up will join an important network of sectors working toward healthier environments where Iowans live, learn, work and play. 

No matter your company size or sector – startup or corporation, blue-collar or white-collar, for-profit or nonprofit – register your workplace to affirm your commitment to make the healthy choice the easy choice for your employees. We want Iowans of all ages to hear the 5-2-1-0 message and be inspired to make healthier choices about what they eat, drink and do every day.

For more information and to register for 5-2-1-0 in the workplace, visit the Healthiest State Initiative’s website at