PORT ANGELES — A dozen community leaders have accepted the Healthy Leaders 5210 Challenge to follow certain healthy guidelines through July.

Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis had some perspective to share — both professional and personal — at the Healthy Leaders 5210 Challenge Kick-off late last month.

The community could benefit from focusing on health and prevention, Lewis said.

“We can’t keep building facilities and buying equipment,” he said.

He and 11 others have agreed to follow the 5-2-10 principle for the month of July.

The national 5-2-10 campaign encourages community members to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables to at least five servings per day, cut their recreational screen time on television or cell phones to two hours or less per day, get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, and eliminate sugar-added drinks such as soda and sweetened coffee drinks.

The goal of this recent challenge, said Dr. Monica Dixon, Olympic Peninsula Health Care Coalition president, is not just to help the community leaders get healthier but for them to spread the message to their staff and within their spheres of influence, helping the community become aware of the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.

“Policy starts with you guys,” Dixon told the group. “As you share this with your colleagues, we’re going to be able to do grow this thing in a big way.

Dixon said the event bringing together Lewis and 11 other community leaders to highlight the coalition’s 5-2-1-0 health initiative was the culmination of a dream that started two years ago.

She said she was startled to see in a Clallam County health assessment the number of diabetes-related deaths and hospitalizations, figures that overshadowed issues such as the area’s opioid epidemic.

Soon started the coalition’s promotion of “5-2-1-0,” a national public education campaign designed to bring awareness to daily recommendations for nutrition and physical activity.

The four lifestyle behaviors have been found by researchers to be the most powerful steps one can take to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes over the long term, the coalition said.

The Olympic Peninsula Health Care Coalition, a countywide nonprofit working to decrease chronic disease in the region, has promoted 5-2-1-0 for the past two years.

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