As previously reported on WDD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has joined a campaign to fight and defeat childhood obesity in cooperation with the NFL, National Dairy Council, multiple health organizations and several major corporations.
Funding is expected to grow as government, business, communities and families join this effort to improve nutrient-rich food choices and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity each day among children. More than 58,000, or 60 percent, of the nation’s 96,000 private and public schools are currently enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60.
“Today is a significant milestone in the fight against childhood obesity because this unprecedented partnership will help educate our youth about steps they can and should take to lead healthy lives,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“Increasing access to more nutrient-rich foods and physical activity in America’s schools is no simple task, and will require the combined effort of private and public interests. Partnerships like these, combined with a strong reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Programs, can make a significant difference in our battle against childhood obesity.”
As an initial step, these partners will work together to promote and expand Fuel Up to Play 60. Based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the program empowers students in grades 4 through 10 to engage their peers to “fuel up” with nutrient-rich foods they often lack – particularly low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains – and “get up and play” with 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
Fuel Up to Play 60 also gives leaders in health, business, government and communities nationwide the opportunity to be a part of a movement that relies on participation, collaboration and action by youth and adults to help develop and maintain healthy habits to last a lifetime.
The program taps the power of the NFL and its teams, players and physical activity programming to add recognition and value for students.
National Dairy Council’s trusted school relationships are crucial in sustaining the program. All 32 NFL teams are participating in the program through local dairy councils and schools in their respective markets.