Farm Talk

Ag News from Around the Country

October 2, 2012

Nutrition program serving for change

Parsons, Kansas — Following the release of national data, new data shows that Fuel Up to Play 60 is seeing significant increases in student participation, engagement, awareness and impact across the Midwest. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program created in partnership with the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture, and provided by the Midwest Dairy Council in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

The 2011-2012 Fuel Up to Play 60 Utilization and Impact Survey interviewed 1,954 program advisors and school administrators, representing 1,557 schools, in Midwest Dairy’s 10-state service area. In its second year of a national roll-out, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program encourages students to eat healthy, be active and make positive, healthy changes in their schools. The survey results show Midwestern schools involved in the Fuel Up to Play 60 are making substantial progress and have seen marked increases over the 2010-2011 school year on a number of fronts, including:

•70 percent of respondents think the program is helping students make healthier food choices (up from 57 percent in 2011).

•59 percent say it is helping increase the amount of time students are physically active at school (up from 54 percent in 2011).

•65 percent of respondents believe Fuel Up to Play 60 positively influences their school environment (up from 58 percent in 2011).

“We’re thrilled that the results of the 2011-12 Fuel Up to Play 60 Research and Utilization Survey are extremely positive,” said Molly Pelzer, RD, LD, senior vice president of Midwest Dairy Council. “The results confirm Fuel Up to Play 60’s status as the premier program to address child health and wellness in schools.”

Nationally, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program serves nearly 73,000 enrolled schools, reaching approximately 38 million students across the country, including more than 12,400 schools and 5.5 million students in the Midwest. Sixty-nine percent of enrolled educators nationwide 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 educators nationwide believe the program is helping students make healthier food choices, and 62 percent say it is helping increase the amount of time students are physically active at school. And, the study found a correlation between the presence of an adult champion and higher program activation and engagement.

In partnership with committed adult stakeholders, youth leaders help students implement changes in their school environments. Fuel Up to Play 60 activity at Midwestern schools has included everything from making over school meals to include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods to forming school fitness and walking clubs to adding grab-n-go breakfast options for students to fuel up before starting their school day. Because of their efforts, students have won local and national rewards, including visits to their schools from NFL players and prize packages that further aid in achieving their school’s health and wellness goals. Read more about Fuel Up to Play 60 success stories from Midwest schools.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors will be sharing real-life program successes at Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit taking place September 18-19 in Washington, D.C. Midwestern students selected to participate in the conference include Alejandro Guadarrama, a National Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador from Waukegan, Ill., and Kylie Kasprick, Minnesota’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador from Maple Grove, Minn. The Summit, hosted by the GENYOUth Foundation, will explore the connection between nutrition, 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 like NFL merchandise and a trip to the Super Bowl. For more information or to sign-up, students, parents and educators may visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com, Fuel Up to Play 60 Facebook page or www.midwestdairy.com.£

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