ROSEMONT, Ill., March 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Fuel Up to Play 60—the nation's largest in-school wellness program—along with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and Dean Foods, launches the It Starts With School Breakfast campaign to increase school breakfast participation nationwide. Research demonstrates that good nutrition, including daily breakfast, and increased physical activity can lead to improved academic performance[i], but according to one study, more than 60 percent of students do not eat breakfast each day.[ii] Many kids are showing up to school hungry, and hungry kids may not be able to succeed in the classroom.
Why School Breakfast?
Kids skip breakfast for a variety of reasons, including habit, hectic mornings, lack of food at home and the social stigma associated with arriving at school early to eat breakfast in the cafeteria without the rest of their classmates. Only half of the 21 million American kids who eat free or reduced price school lunch eat school breakfast as well, even though they're eligible, leaving a gap of more than 10 million children who could benefit from school breakfast.[iii]
Finding new ways to serve breakfast in school can make a difference. Two out of three educators whose students eat "breakfast after the bell" are fans of the program.[iv] Alternative breakfast models, like breakfast in the classroom and grab-and-go carts, can help provide all students with the nutrition they need to fuel their full potential.
"School breakfast changes lives," said Billy Shore, Founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, an organization that connects more children to school breakfast through its No Kid Hungry campaign and supports this new effort. "The seemingly simple act of ensuring that children get school breakfast offers the potential for students to experience greater academic achievement, increased job readiness and ultimately more economic prosperity for our nation. Stronger, better nourished kids mean a stronger America."
Students Make a Difference with Fuel Up to Play 60
Created in partnership by the National Football League and National Dairy Council, which was founded by America's dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a for-youth, by-youth program creating real transformational change in more than 73,000 schools nationwide. Fuel Up to Play 60 empowers students to drive change and work closely with educators to find creative ways to make their school a healthier place. School grants, exciting NFL rewards, a healthy eating and physical activity "Playbook," and additional program resources help make being healthy more accessible and fun. As a result of the program, last year 14 million students made better food choices by selecting nutritious options like low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Additionally, 14 million students are getting more physically active during the school day.
Schools across the country are implementing new ways to encourage students to eat breakfast, and as a result, more students are showing up to school for their first meal of the day:
- This year, Butler High School in Huntsville, Ala. increased school breakfast participation by 63 percent to win a breakfast contest among 249 schools in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. As part of their prize, students were treated to a pep rally with a Tennessee Titans player and cheerleaders. Using the power of Fuel Up to Play 60's relationship with the NFL, students were incented to change their habits and start the day right with a nutritious meal.
- All 18 elementary schools in Lee's Summit R-VII School District in Lee's Summit, Mo. set up grab-and-go stations inside the building for students to pick up an easy and nutritious breakfast to enjoy in homeroom. According to the district, each school has seen an increase in students who eat breakfast, with some elementary schools tripling or quadrupling their participation.
- At the start of the 2013-14 school year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.—the 18th largest school district in the country—began providing universal breakfast to all students using a variety of alternative models, such as Breakfast Off the Bus and grab-and-go. Some schools in the district, such as Mallard Creek High School and Elizabeth Tradition Elementary, have seen the number of students eating breakfast at school more than double.
"Empowering a healthier generation through efforts like school breakfast requires collaboration at the local and national level," said Jean Ragalie-Carr, R.D., President of the National Dairy Council. "Fuel Up to Play 60 is so impactful because of unwavering support from America's dairy farmers, many powerful partners and dedicated students, educators, parents and community leaders working together to take action."
Throughout March, schools across the country are planning events like smoothie taste tests and build-your-own yogurt parfait stations to encourage all students to start with school breakfast. NFL players will be joining these events in 30 different cities, including New York City, Dallas, Denver and St. Louis. Dean Foods is lending support to the campaign at retail locations across the country and by contributing $100,000 in grant money to fund breakfast initiatives at Fuel Up to Play 60 schools.
To learn more and become part of the breakfast solution, visit StartWithSchoolBreakfast.com. Here, supporters can:
- Learn more about why school breakfast matters and see how celebrities, NFL stars and others are supporting the campaign.
- Access resources to help encourage local schools to start a breakfast program.
- Find ways to help schools enroll in Fuel Up to Play 60 or further their involvement in the program.
- See what others are saying about school breakfast, and join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #SchoolBreakfast.
About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America's dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-dense 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, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About Dean Foods
Dean Foods® is a leading food and beverage company in the United States and is the nation's largest processor and direct-to-store distributor of fluid milk. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the Dean Foods portfolio includes TruMoo®, the leading national flavored milk brand, along with well-known regional dairy brands such as Alta Dena®, Berkeley Farms®, Country Fresh®, Dean's®, Garelick Farms®, LAND O LAKES® milk and cultured products*, Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms®, Mayfield®, McArthur®, Meadow Gold®, Oak Farms®, Pet®**, T.G. Lee®, Tuscan® and more. In all, Dean Foods has more than 50 local and regional dairy brands and private labels. Nearly 19,000 employees across the country work every day to make Dean Foods the most admired and trusted provider of wholesome, great-tasting dairy products at every occasion. For more information about Dean Foods and its brands, visit www.deanfoods.com.
*The LAND O LAKES brand is owned by Land O'Lakes, Inc. and is used by license.
**PET is a trademark of The J.M. Smucker Company and is used by license.
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 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.
About Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry® Campaign
No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry® campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.
[i] American College of Sports Medicine, American School Health Association, GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council, The Wellness Impact: Enhancing Academic Through Healthy School Environment, March 2013.
[ii] Eaton DK, Kann L, Kinchen S, et al. 2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States 2011, Surveillance Summary No. 61(SS04);1-162. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6104a1.htm. Accessed on January 31, 2013.
[iii] Share Our Strength, Deloitte, Hunger In Our Schools: Teacher's Report 2013. August 2013.
[iv] Share Our Strength, Deloitte, Hunger In Our Schools: Teacher's Report 2013. August 2013.
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SOURCE Fuel Up to Play 60