Source: Midwest Dairy Council
Last Friday, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard pledged his commitment to child health and wellness through Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school health and wellness program that encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The Governor joined Secretary of Agriculture, Walt Bones, a student and program advisor from Robert Frost Elementary School in Sioux Falls, S.D., South Dakota dairy farmers and members of Midwest Dairy Council to sign the symbolic pledge.
At the pledge signing, the Governor praised the progress achieved to date by South Dakota students and indicated the program is a positive next step toward helping South Dakota students achieve pathways to better nutrition and fitness for life. “Engaging in Fuel Up to Play 60 is an important component of South Dakota’s promotion of childhood health and wellness,” Governor Daugaard said. “The program helps provide healthy breakfast choices for students and encourages them to exercise or play for at least 60 minutes a day. I am appreciative that school children in our state have the opportunity to participate in the program.”
Launched by National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture, Fuel Up to Play 60 has activated more than eight million students in 70,000 schools nationwide, including more than 111,000 students in South Dakota, to be healthy, get active and make a difference. Today, about 350 schools across South Dakota are designated Fuel Up to Play 60 schools.
“As dairy farmers, we have always cared about legacy and the importance of passing on a better future to the next generation,” said dairy farmer Allen Merrill of Parker, S.D. “To date, the dairy community has awarded more than $12,000 in funding to South Dakota schools to help jumpstart and champion school wellness efforts.”
Any school in South Dakota can enroll in the free program, thus becoming eligible to apply for funds to help increase awareness of and access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity opportunities for students. As part of Fuel Up to Play 60, schools can receive a free Quick Start Resources kit with planning tools and in-school collateral materials to help them implement healthy eating and physical fitness plans.
The program, now in its second year, also encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The ultimate goal is to ensure changes made at school are sustainable and to provide children with more opportunities to be physically active and choose nutrient-rich foods.
“Fuel Up to Play 60 has been a huge success at Robert Frost. Students are exposed to healthy eating and the importance of being physically active through challenges and contests; in ways students love and relate to,” said Nicole Osmundson, a parent and Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor at Robert Frost Elementary School. “I thank Governor Daugaard for recognizing Fuel Up to Play 60 and the benefits this program has on our future generation.”