Fuel Up to Play 60 and make a difference
By Teresa Wagner, M.S., R.D./L.D.
Program Director, Dairy Max Incorporated
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council and National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture. The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Research shows that kids who are well nourished and more physically active tend to have improved cognitive function, stronger academic achievement, increased concentration, and better test scores. The bottom line is that Fuel Up to Play 60 can help improve the health, achievement, and long-term well-being for students in schools.
Nutrition and health professional organization supporters include Action for Healthy Kids, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association, and School Nutrition Association.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research and include tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website, youth challenges, and rewards.
The ultimate goal is to ensure changes made at school are sustainable, making it possible for children to have more opportunities to be physically active and choose tasty, nutrient-rich foods throughout the school environment.
- Program advisors are a network of supportive adults in the school environment who volunteer to help guide youth involvement in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Each school needs a program advisor.
- Funding opportunities for Fuel Up to Play 60 are available to help schools and kids make healthy changes. The following are needed for physicians and schools to get involved and become childhood obesity community advocates.
- A physician can become a program advisor for an enrolled Fuel Up to Play 60 school or work as a supporter with a school program advisor.
- The school must complete the Fuel Up to Play 60 school wellness investigation.
- The school must participate in the National School Lunch Program.
- The school should have the backing and support of the school principal, school nutrition professional, and physical education department chair.
- Students should be involved in program planning and participation.
- Funds should be used to address both healthy eating and physical activity.
Sign up for the program by visiting www.FuelUpToPlay60.com. On the website, students can take a pledge, get involved in challenges, learn from other students, track their physical activity and healthy eating behaviors, earn rewards, and explore ways to get healthy and be active. Adults can sign up to be program advisors or supporters. Schools can apply for competitive funding and find out which others are involved in Fuel Up To Play 60. Remember that funding is competitive and based on the quality of the application and sustainability of the specific request. Find out more from your local Dairy Max representative at www.dairymax.org.