The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Dairy Max, introduced state legislators and others to the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and other statewide initiatives on youth health and wellness. Jay Novacek, former Dallas Cowboy was the featured speaker at the event held at the Legislative Conference Center of the Texas State Capitol.
Coordinators said the event and its focus on health corresponds to the Healthy South Texas initiative and other exceptional items put in for consideration by the state legislature. About 100 people attended, including state legislators and staff members, Texas A&M AgriLife administrators and staffers, dairy industry representatives and youth from the Texas 4-H program.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council, Dairy Max and the National Football League, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It encourages young people to consume nutrient-rich foods, including low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, plus getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
“It takes a combined effort like Fuel Up to Play 60 to go into schools and communities and to get young people interested and involved in nutrition and exercise,” Novacek said. “Eating better and getting more exercise allows kids to get better at whatever they do – physically and mentally.”
AgriLife Extension director Dr. Doug Steele, College Station, who also spoke at the event, said health issues among young people in Texas are among the state’s most serious challenges. He added that data from the office of Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shows health care costs account for more than 34 percent of the state’s government spending from state, federal and other sources.
“These issues belong to all of us and no one group or organization can provide a solution,” Steele said. “I’m glad that AgriLife Extension, Dairy Max and others are part of a coalition trying to make a positive difference in the lives of Texas youth. For example, better nutrition and exercise have been shown to have a positive, therapeutic impact on the treatment of many diseases.”