Posts Tagged ‘Fuel Up to Play’

School Nutrition – The Real Revolution

As a speaker at the recent Texas Association of School Nutrition (TASN) Industry Seminar focusing on developing relationships between school district decision makers and industry partners, my charge as a media and communication expert was to encourage school nutrition professionals to “tell their story.”


NDC Hosts a Discussion of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of joining Jean Ragalie, President, National Dairy Council, and Greg Miller, Executive Vice President for Research, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for National Dairy Council for a blogger call to discuss the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Greg kicked off the conversation by describing the major highlights from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, including changes from the 2005 version. He also discussed dairy innovation as it relates to the creation of dairy foods that are lower in sodium, calories, fats and added sugars.


Fuel Up to Play 60 honors students, school for improving nutrition

I’m excited to announce Fuel Up to Play 60 is honoring student and school winners of its online challenge for the 2009-2010 school year.  More than 60,000 schools participated in the program this year and 6th to 8th graders from Enslow Middle School in Huntington, WV earned the most points during the challenge, making Enslow this year’s winning school!

These students embraced the concept that small changes to your health can make a big difference for everyone.  Enslow students held taste tests to determine new healthy menu options to add to the cafeteria selection and started a walking club to help students exercise daily.  They tracked all of the healthy changes they made during the school year and ultimately their personal efforts made them our national school winner, earning them a new HOPS Sports System and cafeteria makeover (valued at $40,000), which will help Enslow’s students make their improvements permanent.


Ring the dinner bell for better nutrition

As my friend, Erin Coffield stated in her previous blog post, Fuel Up to Play 60 shares many of the ambitious goals outlined in the First Lady’s childhood obesity platform, Let’s Move. One goal that both programs share is helping families make healthy choices for meals. It sounds so simple, but how do you begin?

As health professionals, it is good to remember that teaching families the importance of eating together offers the foundation for building healthy diets. In a research editorial in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the author summarizes studies that found the frequency of family dinner was associated with higher intake of nutrients, such as dietary fiber, calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins B-6, B-12, C and E. Another study discussed found that the frequency of family dinner was positively associated with intake of fruits, vegetables, grains and calcium-rich foods and inversely associated with soft drink consumption. Here’s a link to an abstract of one of the studies referenced in the editorial. The challenge is putting nutrient-rich foods like low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, whole grains, fruits and vegetables on the table while simultaneously coordinating work and school schedules.


NDC joins USDA for first blogger conference call about Fuel Up to Play 60

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Jean Ragalie, RD, Executive Vice President of Consulting and Communications, Dairy Health and Wellness and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack on the first ever USDA blogger conference call to discuss the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, and the USDA and dairy industry’s joint commitment to child nutrition and wellness. This call was a follow-up to the January 15 event at Central Park East Middle School in New York City.

USDA blogger call
The call began with remarks from Jean and Secretary Vilsack about Fuel Up to Play 60, NDC’s partnership with the USDA and NFL, and the USDA’s focus on child nutrition, and concluded with Q&A’s from the participating bloggers.
Through the partnerships with the USDA, NFL and our many other partners, we are able to expand the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and bridge a common desire to improve child nutrition and wellness by empowering youth to change their school environment.
USDA twitter
The bloggers asked excellent questions about the program and child nutrition. During the call, the USDA, participating bloggers, and other people following the conversation tweeted about the conference call and Fuel Up to Play 60.
For more information about the call, you can read the full transcript or view photos from the event. To listen to the audio, copy and paste this link into your Web browser: mms://

Emphasize fun when encouraging kids to be active

Recognizing the importance physical activity plays in child health and wellness, I’ve been thankful for the opportunities to hear exercise physiologist Dr. Melinda Sothern speak on “Effective Strategies To Promote Physical Activity and Diminish Obesity in Children.” The first time at the American Dietetic Association’s Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management and the second time at the University of Kansas (KU) Conference on the Prevention and Treatment of Overweight and Obese Individuals. 

A leader in her field, Sothern has authored several books I plan to check out: two handbooks on pediatric obesity and Trim Kids (2001, Harper Collins), a 12-week nutrition, fitness and behavior modification program for kids that is parent driven and followed under the guidance of a family doctor. 

In her presentations, Southern shares strategies for promoting active play as a means of helping to address the issue of childhood obesity. To demonstrate how fun movement can be, throughout her talk she even has the audience up and out of your chair dancing. When you experience first-hand how only a few minutes of intermittent activity can spark excitement and energy in a roomful of adults, it’s clear just how effective this strategy would be for children.

While her talks have focused primarily on exercise, she does make it a point to emphasize the importance diet and behavior modification play in weight management. 

Following her latest presentation, she shared with me that the recommendation of dairy foods including low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt for children two and older is a vital component to eating plans in the Trim Kids program, which is designed for four- to 17-year-olds and their families.  She also cited dairy’s protein as a key nutrient for her participants.

Her messages certainly resonate with Fuel Up to Play 60, a student-led program developed by National Dairy Council and the NFL. Fuel Up To Play 60 is designed to inspire kids to “get up and play” for 60 minutes a day and to “fuel up” with nutrient rich foods including low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 

Dr. Sothern’s philosophy on physical activity also adds merit to the way I’ve encouraged my four-year old son to be active. Whether he’s running up and down the soccer field, riding his bike, or playing “Hide and Seek” with his friends, what matters most is that he is moving and having fun!   

Here is Dr. Sothern’s ADA weight management presentation. She presented a shorter version of this at the KU conference.

Thanks for joining me for the child nutrition webinar!

Thanks to many of you for attending Thursday’s Webinar called “Safeguarding the Health of America’s Children: The Important Role of Nutrient-Rich Foods.

It was a pleasure to have about 400 attendees participate to learn the latest research on the importance of nutrient-rich foods in helping to improve children’s health and wellness. Plus, we had the opportunity to listen and learn from Dr. Lynn Moore, faculty of the Preventative Medicine and Epidemiology department at Boston University School of Medicine and Karen Rafferty, Senior Research Dietitian for Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University and owner of Nutrition Science Resource.

If you were unable to attend, you’ll find the slides here and we encourage you to share them with colleagues. In addition, please explore additional resources including the Child Nutrition Dairy Education Kit and check out our new partnership with the National Football League to help tackle childhood obesity at

The Webinar has also been approved by the Commission of Dietetic Registration for 1 CPE (Continuing Professional Education). Once you view the Webinar you can find the certificate of attendance here for your files.

If you participated, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the research shared.

USDA joins NFL and NDC to tackle childhood obesity

I wanted to alert you of this exciting announcement from the USDA about partnering with the National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC) on “Fuel Up to Play 60,” the program launching in some 60,000 schools next month that empowers 4th-10th grade students to lead projects in their schools to improve nutrition and physical activity.

Here at NDC, we’re honored to bring our child nutrition and school expertise to this partnership, and thrilled to help create healthy, positive change in our nation’s schools. Here is a link to the USDA’s press release.

In a related story in the New York Times, the First Lady visited a new DC farmers market yesterday and bought chocolate milk and cheese, along with eggs, fruits and vegetables.