New England Schools participate in wellness-focused, Ultimate Field Day Challenge at Gillette Stadium

Author: Molly McKendry, MS, RD, LDN

Foxborough, MA The energy was high in the Empower Fieldhouse this morning as 200 students and educators gathered to participate in the 2019 Fuel Up to Play 60 Ultimate Field Day Challenge. Middle and High School students rotated through activity stations called “Fuel Up”, “Step Up”, and “Team Up” that focused on healthy eating, physical activity, and team building. Schools from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont worked in teams to collect points during each activity, some of which were led by local dairy farmers.

The event was held to celebrate the hard work of students and educators who made healthy changes in their school’s wellness environment this past year through Fuel Up to Play 60 a proven research-based, in-school program that encourages regular physical activity and nutritious meals for students.

Guests received a visit from New England’s current Fuel Up to Play 60 Player Ambassador, Nate Ebner, who stopped by for lunch and to speak with the students. Ebner is a defensive back and special teamer for the New England Patriots.

“It’s important that kids have an opportunity to learn about healthy food choices in school so that they are making better choices now, which they can carry on throughout their lives. Fueling your body with nutritious foods like dairy helps prepare you to take on the day, whatever it brings.” Said Ebner.

Students also had the opportunity to meet local dairy farmer Maggie LaPrise of EMMA Acres Farm in Exeter, RI, and National Jersey Queen Abby Shaw, from Oxford, MA. LaPrise and Shaw paired up with schools to lead activities and participate in the day’s events. This was a great opportunity for students and educators to learn about where milk and other dairy products come from.

“Eating nutritious foods in school is an integral part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Knowing that our dairy farm is contributing to this by making a healthy product that is a component of school meals is truly rewarding,” stated LaPrise.

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program was launched by the National Dairy Council and NFL in collaboration with the USDA to promote regular physical activity and the consumption of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy in schools. The program is celebrating its ten-year anniversary this year. Funding for today’s event at the Fieldhouse and the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in New England is provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farm families of New England.

The ultimate goals of Fuel Up to Play 60 are to ensure changes made at school are long-lasting, and to provide youth with more opportunities to stay active, choose nutrient-rich foods, and become leaders in their schools and communities. 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 or locally at

About New England Dairy & Food Council

New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) is a registered 501©3 non-profit organization staffed by registered dietitians. NEDFC has built a legacy of supporting healthy kids and student academic success through science-based nutrition education resources and wellness interventions. Our primary youth wellness initiative, Fuel Up to Play 60, combines healthy eating with physical activity and student leadership to provide a comprehensive program schools can use to make sustainable healthy changes to their wellness environment. NEDFC is a state and regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council® (NDC). For more information, visit

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 to learn more.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

About NFL PLAY 60

In October of 2007, the NFL launched NFL PLAY 60, a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Over the past decade, the NFL has partnered with leading academic, scientific and nonprofit organizations, including the American Heart Association, National Dairy Council, Special Olympics, Shriners Hospitals for Children, St. Jude, and the United Way, to help children of all abilities lead healthier, active lives. Since the launch of the campaign, the NFL has committed more than $350 million to youth health and fitness through programming, grants, and media time for PSAs; the NFL and its clubs have supported programs in nearly 73,000 schools nationwide, giving more than 38 million children the chance to boost physical activity levels and build a foundation for a healthy lifestyle. The NFL and its partners are committed to continuing the PLAY 60 movement for an active and healthier generation for years to come. For more information, visit

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



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