‘Fuel Greatness’ Grows School Breakfast Awareness

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Dairy Checkoff, Education, fuel up to play 60

FUTP60logoFuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness program, will launch “Fuel Greatness” to grow awareness about the importance of school breakfast to students and school leaders.

The effort aims to elevate the conversation around good nutrition and physical activity with a focus on increasing participation and access to breakfast – including dairy – to ensure students begin their day with the fuel they need. Fuel Greatness is being done during National School Breakfast Week (March 2-6) and will include nationwide school events conducted by local dairy checkoff staffs.

Fuel Up to Play 60 has contributed significantly to overall breakfast expansion in schools. More than 2 million more students participating in the program are eating breakfast since 2010. Average daily participation at breakfast increased during this time from 23 percent to 27 percent among Fuel Up to Play 60 schools.

“Starting the day off right by eating breakfast with nutritious foods such as dairy is crucial for students, but we know that many are not eating this important meal,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chair of Dairy Management Inc.™, which manages the national dairy checkoff. “Fuel Greatness helps remind all of us about the importance of breakfast to students’ success.”

Research shows that improved nutrition, including daily breakfast, and increased physical activity can lead to improved academic performance. Eating breakfast at school can help kids be more attentive, behave better and achieve higher test scores, but millions of kids are skipping it. No Kid Hungry’s annual “Hunger in Our Schools” report identified that 76 percent of educators say students come to school hungry.

The Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) School Breakfast Scorecard noted that 13.2 million children ate school breakfast during the 2013-14 school year. While participation is increasing, traditional breakfast programs often encounter challenges such as scheduling restrictions and cafeteria capacity.