More Than 11 Million Students Involved In Making Healthier Changes At School
As students nationwide kick off a new academic year, classroom chatter isn't just about reading, writing and back-to-school fashion, but "what's for breakfast?" and "how long until recess?" Providing healthy solutions to these questions is the driving force behind Fuel Up to Play 60. The program – founded by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture – is partnering with students to lead their generation into a healthier tomorrow by eating smart and staying active. Inspired and led by youth, new data shows Fuel Up to Play 60 is empowering students to make America's schools healthier.
"I'm so proud of the Fuel Up to Play 60 students, teachers and other adults who are paving the way to make positive changes in their schools every day, like starting breakfast bars and morning fitness clubs," said Jean H. Ragalie, RD, president of the National Dairy Council. "By adding tasty, nutritious foods like low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains to school meals and playing for at least 60 minutes a day, we're helping the next generation develop life-long healthy habits. The program is unique because it isn't telling students the importance of being healthy but encouraging and equipping them to create changes both personally and at school."
In addition to more than 11 million students actively engaged in the program, highlights from the Fuel Up to Play 60 study include:
>>The program serves nearly 73,000 enrolled schools reaching approximately 38 million students across the country.
>>Sixty-nine percent of enrolled educators and administrators believe the program is positively influencing their school environment and sixty-five percent say it helps them achieve their school wellness goals.
>>Seventy percent of enrolled schools believe the program is helping students make healthier food choices and sixty-two percent say it is helping increase the amount of time students are physically active at school.
>>Overall, on average, youth involvement is 70 percent higher in schools that also receive Fuel Up to Play 60 grants.
>>More than 26,000 adult advisors support students in their effort, which is an increase of more than 30 percent from last year.
"The best thing about Fuel Up to Play 60 is that it's a customizable program. You can make it your own," said Russ McHenry, Program Advisor at Northern Guilford Middle School in Greensboro, NC. "It's rewarding to help students organize activities that get them moving and choosing the right foods to eat that will help keep them fueled and focused in class."
In partnership with committed adult stakeholders, youth leaders help students implement changes in their school environments. Three of the many recent success stories, include:
--Byron Sackett, Director for Lincoln County Schools in NC, created a free breakfast program to ensure students had access to a healthy start in the morning. The program has seen a 400 percent increase in participants with funding and support from Fuel Up to Play 60.
--Infant Jesus of Prague School in Flossmoor, IL used Fuel Up to Play 60 funds to purchase new physical activity equipment for their early morning fitness club and Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) challenge. The club motivated students, friends and family to exercise, especially throughout the winter months, allowing at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
--Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador, Kaylene Khosla, formerly at Roncalli Middle School in Pueblo, CO, initiated a new healthy sub sandwich station with low-fat cheese, lean meats, veggies and whole grain bread. It is now the most popular lunch line in the cafeteria.
Khosla, along with other Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors, will be sharing real-life program successes at the Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit taking place September 18-19 in Washington, DC. The Summit, hosted by the GENYOUth Foundation, will explore the connection between breakfast, physical activity and learning.
Joining the Fuel Up to Play 60 team is easy, fun and gives students the freedom to be creative about their personal and school goals, in addition to winning exclusive prizes including NFL merchandise and a trip to the Super Bowl XLVII. For more information or to sign-up, students, parents and educators may visit FuelUpToPlay60.com or the Fuel Up to Play 60 Facebook page.
*Data based on results from an online survey fielded in April/May 2012 among more than 11,000 adults in Fuel Up to Play 60 enrolled schools. Survey data were weighted statistically to adjust for sample bias.