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NFL, National Dairy Council Join To Fight Childhood Obesity


In an effort to fight childhood obesity, the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council (NDC) developed “Fuel Up to Play 60.” This youth-led program is designed to help children and adolescents take control of and improve their health through 60 minutes of physical exercise daily and nutritious food choices.

One-third of young people are overweight or obese, and thus are at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other medical conditions. Research shows that these children are more likely to be overweight as adults and thus continue a lifetime of health problems. To help stem the obesity trend, the NFL and National Dairy Council hope to reach and motivate 36 million youth in 60,000 elementary, middle, and high schools during the 2009/2010 school year with a message: fuel up with nutritious foods and play for at least 60 minutes per day.

Young people consume more than half of their daily calories while at school, and they are also more likely to engage in physical exercise while on school grounds or at school-associated events. Thus the school environment is an appropriate setting to introduce young people to healthy eating habits that include more fruits and vegetables, no-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Only 2 percent of school-age children currently consume the recommended number of servings from all the major food groups.

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Schools are also an excellent place to reverse the trend toward a sedentary lifestyle and promote exercise opportunities that they can embrace and turn into lifelong habits. More than 60 percent of children aged 9 to 13 do not participate in any organized physical activities when they are away from school. Nearly one-quarter of students do not take part in any free-time physical exercise at all.

To participate in the Fuel Up to Play 60, schools and students can enroll at the Fuel Up To Play 60 website. Students who sign up pledge to eat healthier and to be more physically active. They are also guided to track their daily healthy behaviors and in the process can earn points to win prizes. Schools that enroll will receive a kit that contains nutritional and exercise materials along with recommended strategies that youth teams can develop and implement at their schools. All materials are free.

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program also includes a nationwide competition that focuses on student-led participation. The competition ends in April 2010 and will award one school and one youth winner.

Any child can be a winner if he or she participates in the Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign and takes away healthy eating habits and ways to enjoy physical exercise on a daily basis. Schools and individuals can learn more about the Fuel Up To Play 60 program, sign up for a newsletter, watch a video, and request the School Wellness Activation Kit at the website. Information is also available at the NFL Rush website.

National Dairy Council
NFL Play 60/NFL Rush