WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The GENYOUth Foundation is joining National Dairy Council (NDC), the American College of Sports Medicine, the American School Health Association and the National Football League (NFL) to host the "Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit." The conference brings together leaders from the private and public sectors - including athletes, celebrities, respected non-profit organizations and leading iconic American companies - to explore innovative solutions in order to reverse the child health crisis and positively impact academic performance.
One strategy being announced today is the youth-driven AdVenture Capital Initiative, which invites youth to "pitch" a realistic solution to help improve access to nutritious foods such as low-fat and fat-free dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and physical activity at their schools. Students present to a panel of judges, encompassing business, education, health and fitness leaders and will have a chance to receive a grant to make their idea a reality. Ultimately, the program will kick-start lasting student/corporate partnerships that will benefit students and schools today and the American workforce tomorrow.
"We can't accept this paradox of obesity and poor nutrition among youth as the new normal, we must change it. While many are familiar with the long-term health effects poor nutrition and physical activity have on a child, there's also a connection to a child's ability to learn," said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth. "We're constantly looking for reasons why academic achievement isn't as high as it could be. School breakfast and time for physical activity are often overlooked and underutilized, and we believe these are areas where improvement can be made to help schools across the country."
Health-based solutions in the school setting can be critical not only for children's physical well-being, but also for their academic performance.1 According to "The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in our Schools," a 2004 report authored by 16th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, nearly half of all young people ages 12 to 21 didn't participate in regular physical activity, and only 2 percent of school-aged children ate the recommended servings from the fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein food groups.1 Now, the CDC notes less than 3 in 10 high school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.2 This underscores the need for collaboration from the classroom to the boardroom to unlock the right solutions to pave the way for a better tomorrow.
"As industry leaders, it's our responsibility to drive action that's aimed at improving the health and wellness of our children and the quality of their learning environments," said Jose Luis Prado, President of Quaker Foods North America. "Whether we're talking about new technology, new food choices, or new ideas and solutions for providing nourishing options for today's families, we can help provide inspiration and motivation that will yield progress for generations to come."
This challenge comes at a time when school budgets are stretched thin and every minute of the school day is accounted for and used. Nevertheless, GENYOUth believes the solution must begin in schools, because students often consume up to 50% of their daily calories at school,3 and schools present a great opportunity for daily structured and unstructured physical activity. It's why GENYOUth Foundation has turned to some of America's most innovative companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) for support and leadership in changing the way we view nutrition, physical activity and academic achievement in our schools. And to ensure all schools have access to these ideas, GENYOUth also works directly with school stakeholders and offers programs to help schools and communities with limited resources and declining budgets improve their facilities.
An example of GENYOUth's commitment to schools is the flagship in-school nutrition and physical activity program, Fuel Up to Play 60. Launched by NDC and the NFL, the program currently has more than 73,000 schools enrolled, with the potential to reach approximately 38 million students nationwide. The program's unique approach for youth, with youth empowers kids to take action, equipping them to create change both personally and within their school environment. As a result, schools across the country are reporting that Fuel Up to Play 60 is an engine for positive change, helping them achieve their wellness goals. GENYOUth will take what's been learned from this partnership between NDC and NFL and use it to tap into the unique expertise forward-thinking companies across America can offer educators, parents and students.
"This is about ensuring that children are empowered to realize their full potential as our future innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders," said Curt Kolcun, Vice President of the U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft, who joined the Summit. "The Summit's exploration of new ways to address the connection between physical activity, nutrition and academic achievement aligns nicely with our commitment at Microsoft to ensure that our technologies and programs are connecting youth with new skills and opportunities in education and life."
The Summit is made possible thanks to sponsorship from Quaker Oats, Microsoft Xbox Kinect and Dole.
To view the full agenda or get involved with GENYOUth Foundation, please visit www.genyouthfoundation.org.
About GENYOUth Foundation
Over the past thirty years, we have seen explosive growth in the number of children identified as overweight or obese. Founded through an unprecedented public-private partnership with the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL) committed to child health and wellness, GENYOUth brings leaders in health, education, government and business together in a movement to reverse childhood obesity rates. The Foundation officially launched on February 4, 2011 at Super Bowl XLV with the signing of a historic six-way Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education and Health & Human Services. GENYOUth empowers students to improve nutrition and physical activity by taking small steps to accelerate a lifetime of healthy changes. When youth are given a voice, change can happen. For more information, visit www.genyouthfoundation.org.
About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. 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 with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About National Dairy Council
National Dairy Council® (NDC), the non-profit organization funded by the national dairy checkoff program, is committed to nutrition education and research-based communications. NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Established in 1915, NDC comprises a staff of registered dietitians and nutrition research and communications experts across the country. NDC has taken a leadership role in promoting child health and wellness through programs such as Fuel Up to Play 60. Developed by NDC and the National Football League (NFL), Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. For more information, visit www.NationalDairyCouncil.org.
About the American College of Sports Medicine
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. ACSM's signature programs include: Exercise is Medicine® A global initiative to improve health and well-being through a prescription for regular physical activity from doctors and other health care providers. ACSM American Fitness Index™ An evidence- and science-based measurement of health and fitness at the community level throughout the U.S. in partnership with the WellPoint Foundation.
About The American School Health Association
The American School Health Association (ASHA) is the leading membership organization for school health professionals. It is concerned with all health factors that are necessary for students to be ready to learn, including optimum nutrition, physical fitness, emotional well-being, and a safe and clean environment. The association focusses its efforts on professional development, outreach and advocacy for educators and health providers (ashaweb.org).
1 Action for Healthy Kids (October 2004).The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/for-schools/resources/files/learning-connection.pdf. Accessed 8/15/12.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.html
3 Let's Move! - http://www.letsmove.gov/healthy-schools
SOURCE GENYOUth Foundation