ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fuel Up to Play 60's first "report card" since launching in 2009 shows schools are making progress in promoting healthier eating habits and increasing physical activity among students, helping to create a healthier school environment. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Fuel Up to Play 60 is provided by Midwest Dairy Council, an affiliate of NDC, in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
With more than 70,000 schools now enrolled nationwide, representing almost three-fourths of all U.S. school districts, the program provides a free playbook of tools, resources, rewards and engagement activities to empower youth to work with adults in their school community to make healthy changes. Specifically in Midwest Dairy Council's 10-state territory:
- 12,610 schools, serving 5.5 million students, are enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60
- More than $1.5 million in funds and rewards have been given to help participating schools increase access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity
- More than 2,700 adults are Fuel up to Play 60 program advisors
- Nearly two-thirds of enrolled adults say the program is helping students make healthier food choices.
- More than half (56 percent) say the program is helping to increase opportunities for students to be physically active before, during and after school, and 58 percent say it is helping to increase the amount of time students are physically active.
- On average, 7.5 million students nationwide, over 20 percent of those enrolled, are actively involved in the program by helping to plan, lead, implement or participate in peer-to-peer promotions, events and in-school change strategies.
Fuel Up to Play 60 addresses the real-world circumstances by offering resource-strapped schools funding opportunities to help them make strides in meeting their wellness goals. Approximately 60 percent of funded schools serve a largely low-income student body. As a result, Fuel Up to Play 60, supported in part by U.S. dairy farmer families, has given a combined total of more than $20 million in funds and rewards to help participating schools increase access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity. Beyond dollars, Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages and recognizes schools and students with tangible rewards and resources such as participation in a Student Ambassador program, official NFL gear and NFL player appearances.
"Fuel Up to Play 60 is going strong in the Midwest to support both healthy eating and physical activity in schools," said Molly Pelzer, RD, LD, senior vice president of Midwest Dairy Council. "Students in more than 12,600 Midwest schools are helping their schools work toward healthy changes for the long term. And the funds provided by the program will help many of the participating schools do even more to implement these wellness efforts."
The commitment to Fuel Up to Play 60 is extensive. In addition to a network of more than 90,000 adults enrolled in the program, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services co-signed an agreement to support Fuel Up to Play 60. Supported by health and nutrition organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the School Nutrition Association, the program now involves schools that serve more than 36 million students nationwide. In the Midwest, Governors from Nebraska, Arkansas, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas have stepped up to show their commitment to Fuel Up to Play 60. In Nebraska, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Iowa, Governors signed certificates pledging their commitment to the program's Guiding Principles and school wellness initiatives. In Kansas, the Governor proclaimed an official Fuel Up to Play 60 Day.
In 2011, the GENYOUth Foundation was launched to raise funds for Fuel Up to Play 60 and other in-school programs, and to give leaders in health, business, government and communities nationwide the opportunity to be a part of a movement to help reverse childhood obesity rates. For more about Fuel Up to Play 60, visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com or www.MidwestDairy.com.
Midwest Dairy Council®, an affiliate of National Dairy Council, is the nutrition education division of Midwest Dairy Association. The Council is dedicated to dairy nutrition research and education through the investment of more than 11,000 dairy farm families across 10 Midwestern states, and is committed to child health and wellness through our collaborative program, Fuel Up to Play 60. For more information, visit www.midwestdairy.com. Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook at Midwest Dairy.
SOURCE Midwest Dairy Association