ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, reminding Americans that instilling physical activity and healthy eating habits among our nation's youth is more important than ever before. Demonstrating their commitment to making health and wellness a nationwide priority, the National Dairy Council (NDC), the National Football League (NFL) and Carla Hall, Top Chef alum and co-host of ABC's upcoming lifestyle series, The Chew, are jump starting Fuel Up to Play 60 and the new school year by motivating students to take charge of their well-being.
"It is important to go beyond the message of 'eat healthier' and 'be active,'" said Jean Ragalie, RD, President of the National Dairy Council. "We need to provide today's youth with opportunities to own their health decisions and access fun ways to live a healthy lifestyle – Fuel Up to Play 60 does just that, connecting students with tangible ways to take a stand against childhood obesity."
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the NDC and the NFL, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 spokesperson and celebrity chef Carla Hall recognizes the importance of healthy eating and physical activity for today's youth. "Fresh, healthy food and daily exercise has always been part of my philosophy. As a chef I have the responsibility to share the knowledge that nutrient-rich foods, like low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can be delicious, kid-friendly and easily incorporated into school lunches."
To ensure busy parents make their children healthy lunches and encourage exercise throughout the school week, Fuel Up to Play 60 and Chef Carla Hall offer the following tips.
- Don't Get Hung Up: Don't allow yourself to be frustrated by trying to create the perfect meal for your kids – as long as you work towards balance, it's all good! Even the occasional chocolate chip cookie works...especially when served with milk!
- Create a Game Plan: Prepare in advance, plan out the weekly lunches and snack needs for your kids' busy schedules. With just a few minutes of planning and preparing on Sunday – a well-balanced lunch is only minutes away.
- Make Good Food...the Easy Way!: Food does not have to be homemade to be nutritious – feel free to reach for healthy packaged options like string cheese, yogurt, baby carrots or an apple.
- Have Fun: Making meals together can be a fun activity to teach kids about the value of building a colorful and nutritious meal for themselves, and letting them co-own their own health and wellness.
- Prioritize Family Time: Now that you have cleared up some time in your schedule, plan activities that help you and your child work toward achieving at least 60 minutes daily of physical activity – from taking a walk after dinner to playing catch or dancing in the backyard.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program empowers youth to take action for their own health by providing an opportunity to implement long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. For example, students are working directly with their schools to have breakfast offered in new and fun ways or to start walking clubs. Schools also have access to resources they need to implement the program, which include in-school collateral materials and planning tools and Funds for Fuel Up to Play 60, which support healthy changes. Together with the involvement of multiple supporting 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 – the program reaches more than 70,000 schools across the country and plans to further its progress by expanding its reach and impact in the years to come.
"The National Football League is strongly committed to helping the next generation of youth achieve healthier lifestyles. Entering its fifth year, our NFL PLAY 60 campaign encourages kids to get active and play 60 minutes a day. We are pleased that Fuel Up to Play 60 extends that message to include healthy eating. Through Fuel Up to Play 60, we help young people to discover that healthy habits can be both fun and empowering," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a series of three Fuel Up to Play 60 Challenges this year, and a bonus Challenge in the summer, that help educate and motivate them to showcase their talents and collaborate with their peers, putting Fuel Up to Play 60 into action. The first Challenge is Fuel Up to Play 60 Back to School, Back to Football, which encourages students to get their school and friends excited about Fuel Up to Play 60 by creating a poster or video, planning a pep rally or otherwise getting the year off to a healthy start.
Eat Healthy. Get Active. Make a Difference. Back to School with Fuel Up to Play 60! To learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 and to join the movement visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com.
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 FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About NFL PLAY 60
Designed to help tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the National Dairy Council. NFL PLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit NFLRush.com. © 2011 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.
About National Dairy Council
National Dairy Council® (NDC) is the nutrition research, education and communications arm of Dairy Management Inc™. NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Established in 1915, NDC is dedicated to educating the public on the health benefits of consuming milk and milk products throughout a person's lifespan. For more information, visit NationalDairyCouncil.org.
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