Monday, April 9, 2012

What is Fuel Up To Play 60?

By DeDe Hausmann of Winners Drink Milk

FUEL UP TO PLAY 60 (FUTP60) is an in-school nutrition and physical activity wellness program that was developed in 2009 by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL), along with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help combat our childhood obesity epidemic FUTP60 encourages our youth to eat nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, veggies, and whole grains) and to work towards getting 60 minutes of physical activity daily. 

Our kids need to take action for their own health and FUTP60 will encourage this. With over 60% of adults in this country being overweight or obese, we’ve got to help our kids learn healthy lifestyle habits. We want them to see that eating healthy and engaging in daily physical activity should be what they WANT to do for themselves.

Any US school can become a part of this FREE program.  At least one adult in the school needs to be the advisor and then she/he signs up the school at the website. On the website advisors will find customizable and non-prescriptive components that are grounded in research. These include tools and resources, in-school promotion materials, youth challenges and many rewards and grants.  

The ultimate goal is to make sure that the changes in the school are sustainable, making it possible for our kids to have more opportunities to be physically active and that they want to eat nutrient-rich foods. We are short-changing ourselves when it comes to low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  FUTP60 encourages the consumption of these 4 food groups! And if we can get our kids up and moving and they enjoy being physically active every day then they are going to be more healthy!

If the school environment becomes more healthy and the kids like the changes (as in new foods on the breakfast/lunch lines, more chances during the day to be physically active, etc.) then the students will want to take these new, healthy foods and activities home.  If parents are receptive, healthful changes can occur for the whole family.  If a child comes home raving about some new foods they’ve tried in school, hopefully parents will want to try these foods too.  And wouldn’t it be great if a family started doing physical activities together, as in biking after dinner or just taking a walk together. 

Check out to see if your kids or grandkids schools’ are FUTP60 schools and if not, encourage someone in those schools to go to the website and get info on the program.  Do note that a school can apply for up to $4000 worth of grant funding per school year to help them enact this wonderful school wellness program.  I bet most schools could benefit from that funding, don’t you?  

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