By Marley Sugar, RD, LD, Midwest Dairy Council
For five years, Fuel Up to Play 60 – an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – has proven to be an effective vehicle for helping 12,000 schools and 5.9 million students across the Midwest set and meet wellness goals.
Here in Kansas, schools are using Fuel Up to Play 60 resources to positively impact student concentration, behavior and academic performance.
Studies show students who eat breakfast are more attentive, better behaved and achieve higher academic performance. More students are reaping these benefits at Washington Elementary School in Olathe. Following the launch of the Breakfast in the Classroom program, the Fuel Up to Play 60 team produced videos to encourage more of their peers to participate. The new program and the team’s persuasion paid off, because now daily breakfast participation averages 400 students, compared to the previous 122.
Not only are Kansas students fueling up to achieve positive wellness outcomes, but they’re also getting active. Students at Frank Rushton Elementary School in Kansas City are participating in daily “Brain Breaks.” Teachers are breaking up the school day with frequent breaks that get students up from their desks and actively moving around the classroom. Thanks to these breaks, school leaders reported an increase in the students’ focus and on-task behavior.
Since Fuel Up to Play 60 launched in 2010, approximately 7,700 more students in Kansas now eat school breakfast each day. If you’re interested in implementing Fuel Up to Play 60 in your school this fall, you may be eligible for funding assistance. For more information, visit the Fuel Up to Play 60 website and apply before the June 16 deadline.
Marley Sugar is a Health and Wellness Program Manager in Kansas, where she serves as a liaison to health professionals and is responsible for promoting programs like Fuel Up to Play 60. She is a spokeswoman for Midwest Dairy Council, conducting television, print and radio interviews in the state of Kansas and in the Kansas City metro market. As a registered and licensed dietitian, Marley provides accurate, scientific and practical information on the benefits of dairy nutrition. You can connect with Marley by following her on Twitter @marleysugarRD. She is also available at 913-319-7239 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite evidence that being active improves learning, less than five percent of American schools offer a daily physical activity. Nationwide, only half of our elementary schools and a quarter of middle schools require physical education.