New England Fuel Up to Play 60 Schools are Recognized for Commitment to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity at Gillette Stadium Event

Molly McKendry, MS, RD, LDN
Football player with teens

Foxborough, MA  The doors of the Putman Club opened at 9:45AM sharp this morning to welcome over 90 students, plus school staff and other guests, to the annual Fuel Up to Play 60 Celebration at Gillette Stadium. This year’s culminating event was a “VIP Reward Day” hosted for schools throughout New England that actively participated in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program throughout the year, demonstrating their commitment to student health and wellness through nutrition and physical activity-focused initiatives.

The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy, and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Funding for Fuel Up to Play 60 and today’s event was provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farm families of New England.

Over the course of the day, students in grades 4th-12th participated in interactive breakout sessions focused on team building, physical activity, and healthy eating. During the “Speak Up” session, students focused on creative problem solving by addressing barriers to school breakfast awareness. The “Step Up” session focused on the benefits of physical activity for health, and the third session “Fuel Up” focused on the importance of developing life-long healthy eating habits. During the lunch a few of the special guests spoke, including Nate Ebner, safety and special teams leaders for the New England Patriots, as well as a dairy farmer. The day wrapped up with a tour of Gillette Stadium.

Prescott Herzog, a ninth-grader from New Hampshire, and the 2017-2018 Fuel Up to Play 60 New Hampshire State Ambassador, described his experiences this past year with the program, “Being the New Hampshire State Ambassador this year has been an amazing experience.” He said.

“A major project I’ve been involved in the past few months was launching a Grab n’ Go breakfast program in my high school by helping to get a new breakfast cart, which involved raising $7,000 in funds with grants from AdCap, New England Dairy & Food Council, and from the community. I’ve also traveled to Minnesota for the Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit, and to Domino’s headquarters to meet with their executive team and learn about project development. It’s been an exciting year!”

Students had the opportunity to meet regional dairy farmers who traveled to the event from throughout New England.  This included Jimmy Hunt of Hunt Farms in Orange, Massachusetts, Jonathan Hermonot of Fairholm Farm in Woodstock, Connecticut, and John and Karyn Luther of Parnassus Farm in Acworth New Hampshire. The farmers participated in the interactive breakout sessions with students, and one also participated in a question and answer session during the lunchtime break.

In addition to meeting local dairy farmers, the students also heard a video message from Chef Brad with the New England Patriots about the importance of making healthy choices for success on and off the field.

When asked about the changes he’s observed in schools with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, Jimmy Hunt from Hunt Farms said, “It’s great to see that a lot of schools are enhancing their health and wellness environments by prioritizing nutritious school meals and physical activity.” He continued, “I’m proud to support the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which get students involved in this process by working alongside their peers to bring about change.”

The ultimate goals of Fuel Up to Play 60 are to ensure changes made at school are long-lasting, and to provide children with more opportunities to be physically active and choose tasty, nutrient-rich foods at school. The program offers schools grant funding opportunities to support healthful initiatives that are provided by the dairy farm families of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. For more information, visit FuelUpToPlay60.com or locally at NewEnglandDairyCouncil.org/Fuel-Up-To-Play-60.

About New England Dairy & Food Council

New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) is a non-profit nutrition education organization staffed by registered dietitians. NEDFC is a state and regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council® (NDC).  Our goal is to ensure that health professionals, scientists, media and educators have a credible body of nutrition information upon which to base health recommendations.

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program 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.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

About NFL PLAY 60

Designed to help tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the National Dairy Council. NFLPLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit NFLRush.com. © 2018 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.

About the NFL Players Association

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.

© 2018 National Football League Players Incorporated

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