BACK-TO-SCHOOL GUIDEBOOK How to Build a Healthy Kid In association with ADVERTISEMENT HEALTHY KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL— AND BETTER HEALTH OUR KIDS ARE BECOMING UNHEALTHY AND SEDENTARY, yet budget cuts and the pressure to boost test results mean physical education and school teams have been reduced or slashed altogether. So how can we give our young people a fighting chance at good health? The National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League faced this challenge when they created Fuel Up to Play 60, an innovative school wellness program already in play in more than 60,000 elementary, middle and high schools in the U.S. “The NFL and its teams are committed to helping young people recognize the importance of good nutrition and physical activity,” says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Fuel Up to Play 60 is a great program that helps students understand and enjoy the elements of a healthy lifestyle.” The program—in collaboration with the USDA, all 32 NFL teams and local Dairy Councils, and supported by a number of health and nutrition organizations— encourages students to collaborate with teachers and other school staff on healthy eating and exercise strategies. The goal: to help kids “fuel up” with nutrient-rich foods and “get up and play” for at least 60 minutes a day. “Schools should be places where students have endless opportunities to make excellent choices, from the food they eat to the physical activity in which they engage,” says Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Adult program advisors who are passionate about wellness are key to putting the program in place, keeping it on track and inspiring students. Getting your school’s nutrition and physical education teams on board will enhance your chances of success. This booklet offers compelling evidence, based on both research and success stories, that programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 really work. You can join the movement online at www.FuelUptoPlay60.com. ©2010 National Dairy Council®. Fuel Up is a service mark of National Dairy Council. ©2010 NFL Properties LLC. Team names/logos/indicia are trademarks of the teams indicated. All other NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. NFL PLAYERS is a trademark of National Football League Players Incorporated. BACK TO SCHOOL The Childhood-Obesity Crisis 4 A former surgeon general speaks out by david satcher Lunchroom Makeover 8 How to encourage healthy eating by claudia kalb A Chef Hits the Cafeteria 12 An interview with Kathy Gunst by claudia kalb Recess Revolution 18 Putting the fizz back in phys ed by johannah cornblatt Secrets From the NFL 26 Two football stars on staying fit by nayeli rodriguez What Do Kids Really Eat? 28 Too often, not what they should by ian yarett ADVERTISEMENT CALL FOR COLLABORATION: AN OPEN LETTER TO AMERICA’S EDUCATORS The Washington Post Company KATHARINE GRAHAM, 1917–2001 DONALD E. GRAHAM, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer MANAGING DIRECTOR: Ann L. McDaniel CHAIRMAN: Richard M. Smith EDITOR: Jon Meacham EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Lally Weymouth GUIDEBOOK EDITOR Debra Rosenberg CONTRIBUTORS Johannah Cornblatt, Claudia Kalb, Nayeli Rodriguez, David Satcher, Ian Yarett DESIGN DIRECTOR Andrew James Capelli DEPUTY DESIGN DIRECTOR Sara McKay DESIGN Kristen Ren DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION Ignacio Kleva PHOTO IMAGING Steve Walkowiak PHOTO EDITORS Michael Fodera, Michelle Molloy, James Wellford EDITORIAL PRODUCTION Cathy Fenlon (deputy director), Sally Atkinson, Dan Brillman, Vicko Fabris, Jean Foos, Deborah Martens, Pierre Metivier, James C. Morgan, John Ramsey, Herbert Samuels, Miguel A. Torres, Ana Zapata COPY EDITORS David Olivenbaum (chief), Andrew Cohen, Lisa DeLisle, Jacqueline F. Kurtzberg, Steve Noveck, Alessandra Rafferty, Carl Rosen, Jay Wilkins MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION Scott Bauer, Sara Boyarsky, Becky Cassidy, Kim Corrigan, Kristin Denninger, Gary Dzurenda, Mark Heeman, Michael Helldorfer, Lauren Palmieri, Damian Ross, Cintia Senmartin, Robert Serrano, Anthony Small, Lauren Thompson cover and inside illustrations by zsuzsanna ilijin CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Tom Ascheim CHIEF ADVERTISING OFFICER Alyson Racer U.S. PUBLISHER AND SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Patrick K. Hagerty CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Angela Leaney VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGY AND ENTERPRISES Nick Grudin Nearly one-third of American children and adolescents, approximately 25 million kids, are now overweight or obese. If current trends continue, our children may have shorter life expectancies than we do. Schools present a key battleground in the fight for a healthier generation, and it will take a unified effort to effect lasting change. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an active member of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation, and recognizes and applauds efforts across the private and public sectors to give our children a healthier future. One such effort, Fuel Up to Play 60, is creating healthy, sustainable changes in more than 60,000 schools nationwide. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the NFL, in collaboration with the USDA. The program is grounded in decades of nutrition and physical activity experience and research, and encourages kids to consume nutrient-rich foods, like low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Fuel Up to Play 60 was designed to be customizable so youth and schools can determine which tools and resources will best meet their own wellness goals. NFL’s commitment to youth health and fitness and their admired players, social-marketing components, motivating rewards and funding opportunities for schools are all part of the program’s appeal and what makes it unique among school-based programs. Fuel Up to Play 60 offers bold leadership for child health and wellness through the support of many organizations, including Action for Healthy Kids, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dietetic Association/Foundation, the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association and the School Nutrition Association. Efforts like Fuel Up to Play 60 cannot affect widespread change alone; it will take a combined effort from educators, businesses, health and nutrition professionals, government, educators and communities across the country. We support Fuel Up to Play 60, and we ask for your help in raising awareness of this issue and ensuring that all our children receive adequate nutrition and physical activity. Let’s fight for healthier kids. Join the Fuel Up to Play 60 solution. Visit www.FuelUptoPlay60.com to get involved. VICE PRESIDENT OF ADVERTISING SERVICES John M. Ernst © 2010 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. 395 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014. 2 BACK TO SCHOOL Tom Vilsack Secretary United States Department of Agriculture A Call to Action An epidemic of obesity threatens our children’s future. What we can do about it. even in this age of google and iPads, there are some problems that technology cannot solve. One clear example is the growing epidemic of obesity in America, particularly among our children. The problem is rooted in our modern lifestyle—yes, perhaps some of our cutting-edge technology has even made it worse by creating a generation of couch potatoes. Childhood obesity is now contributing to the increase in ailments like diabetes 4 BACK TO SCHOOL and heart disease. Finding a solution must be a national imperative. Thankfully, first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign may finally be giving the problem the attention it deserves. Childhood obesity isn’t a new issue, but it is a worsening one. When the surgeon general’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity was released in 2001, being overweight and obese had already reached epidemic proportions COURTESY OF ACTION FOR HEALTHY KIDS by david satcher in this country. That report noted kids are also far more likely to become that, in 1999, some 61 percent of adults obese adults, who will eventually face were overweight or obese, and 13 a whole array of other health issues. percent of children and adolescents Luckily, there is much we can do were overweight. There were nearly to change this grim trend. We can twice as many overweight children encourage healthy lifestyles and preand almost three times as many vention measures that will secure overweight adolescents as there had a healthy future for America’s chilbeen in 1980. A 2007–08 National dren—getting them used to good, Health and Nutrition Examination nutritious foods and regular exerSurvey revealed that an estimated 17 cise. While families, communities, percent of children and adolescents and policymakers all have a role in ages 2 to 19 were obese. Among pre- working collaboratively to eliminate school children 2 to 5 years of age, obesity, I believe that schools—I like obesity increased from 5 to 10.4 per- to call them the “great equalizers”— cent between 1980 and 2008. It rose present the best opportunity. Schools from 6.5 to 19.6 percent among 6- to are inclusive—everybody goes to 11-year-olds. And among adolescents school—and children spend 1,000 12 to 19, obesity more than tripled, hours a year there. Schools provide an increasing from 5 to 18.1 percent dur- opportunity to educate and inﬂuence ing the same period. the habits of children from all kinds Obesity in children is of particular of environments, affecting their lives concern: obese children and adoles- and the lives of their families, now and cents are more likely to be at risk for in the future. Schools can also help health problems once to target underlying faced only by adults, social problems that IN 2008 like cardiovascular inﬂuence unhealthy AN ESTIMATED problems and type behavior, including 17 PERCENT OF 2 diabetes. The incipoverty, safety, vioCHILDREN AGES 2 TO dence of type 2 dialence, and the ab19 WERE OBESE. betes is increasing sence of stores that among children and sell healthy food. adolescents; most of them, according My own organization, Action for to the Centers for Disease Control Healthy Kids (AFHK), addresses the and Prevention, are between 10 and epidemic of overweight, undernour19 years old, obese, have a strong fam- ished, and sedentary youth by focusily history for type 2 diabetes, and ing on improving nutrition and physhave insulin resistance. Even chil- ical-activity policies and practices in dren who don’t develop grown-up schools. A partnership of 60 organiillnesses right away are at risk: these zations and government agencies that NEWSWEEK.COM 5 SATCHER WITH HOUSTON STUDENTS. The nutrition, health, and publichealth professionals surveyed cited nutrition education as the most effective strategy to help youth make better food selections. A majority of school administrators, including superintendents, board members, principals, and school food-service professionals, felt their schools were already doing a good job of offering healthy, kid-friendly food options. But some 82 percent of parents felt schools needed to work harder in these areas. 6 BACK TO SCHOOL Nearly 80 percent of physicaleducation teachers and parents felt schools needed to provide more physical education. Yet about half of school administrators indicated that schools already provide enough quality daily physical education for all students. Fewer than one in four parents had ever talked with their child’s teacher or principal about improving nutrition or physical activity at school, even though most parents felt these were signiﬁcant concerns. A 2007 national survey conducted by AFHK revealed that 18 percent of parents thought schools were doing a good job offering nutritious, appealing foods, and only 20 percent thought schools offered enough physical activity. Nearly all (96 percent) thought that parents play an important role in advocating for better nutrition and more physical education, yet only 24 percent had ever contacted their child’s school to request improvements. One of three elementary schools did not offer daily recess, and only 4 percent offered daily physical education. Physical education actually declined as students progressed through school. And most local school wellness policies we examined did not include goals for physical education or physical-education-teacher training. Though the overall picture seems bleak, there are some bright spots in COURTESY OF NATIONAL DAIRY COUNCIL supports the efforts of teams—including 14,000 volunteers—in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, AFHK was founded in 2002 in response to the surgeon general’s Call to Action the previous year, which identiﬁed the school environment as one of ﬁve key sites of change. A 2004 AFHK report, “The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools,” pointed out that children who were physically active and ate a nutritious breakfast performed better in school. They concentrated better; performed better on standardized exams in reading and math; were better disciplined; and were much less likely to be absent from school. In a 2008 report, “Progress or Promises: What’s Working for and Against Healthy Schools,” we found differing views of schools’ efforts to promote healthy behavior. our efforts to tackle childhood obesity. One example is Fuel Up to Play 60, a new youth program sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League that encourages kids to eat healthy by taking the right fuels—fruits and vegetables, water, low-fat milk, whole-grain bread—into their bodies and to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Action for Healthy Kids also developed, in partnership with the National Football League, the first national after-school program, ReCharge! Energizing After-School, that fully inte- will be critical to addressing this grates nutrition and physical activity complex challenge and all the barrithrough teamwork-based strategies ers to healthy behavior that go with for youth in grades three to six. In it. Individuals must make healthy the last school year, AFHK reached lifestyle choices for themselves and nearly 4 million kids their families; comin 8,000 schools in munities must make ONLY 18 PERCENT 1,100 school districts. changes that promote OF PARENTS THOUGHT Now some 90 perhealthful eating and SCHOOLS WERE DOING cent of schools have physical activity; and A GOOD JOB OFFERING wellness policies inpolicies must be deNUTRITIOUS FOODS. tended to promote veloped and implephysical education mented to ensure that and model good nutrition in grades the changes take place. Working K through 12. But there is still a tre- together, we can create a healthier mendous gap between policy state- America—for all of us, but especially ments and program implementation. for our children. Concrete action can make a difference: there are school districts that david satcher, M.D., Ph.D., was have invested in carts and equip- surgeon general of the United States ment to serve breakfast in class- from 1998 to 2002. He is the director of rooms, and as a result have increased the Satcher Health Leadership Institute the number of children receiving a and the Center of Excellence on Health nutritious breakfast. Disparities at Morehouse School of These kinds of partnerships be- Medicine, where he is also the Poussainttween schools and outside groups Satcher-Cosby professor of mental health. NEWSWEEK.COM 7 Lunchroom Makeover How schools can plant the seeds for healthy eating. by claudia kalb ten years ago, elementary-school provides meals for more than 30 milstudents in Cambridge, Mass., ate a lion children across the country every fairly typical lunch: American chop day. Those lunches, many of which suey, beef and macaroni, canned fruit are served free or at a reduced cost, are in syrup. “There were no fresh vegeta- critical to the well-being of students. bles and no whole grains,” says Dawn But they are not nearly as nutritious Olcott, a school nutritionist with the as they should be. A report sponsored Cambridge Public Health Department. by the U.S. Department of Agriculture “And dairy products were not low fat.” found that the average salt content Today, locally grown produce, in- of school lunches is almost twice the cluding fresh squash recommended level. and tomatoes, is Schools do provide a 42 PERCENT OF offered. A chef is crerange of choices for SCHOOLS FAIL TO ating nutritious recistudents, but many OFFER FRESH FRUIT pes. And students are of those options are AND VEGETABLES growing fruits and high-fat, high-calorie ON A DAILY BASIS. vegetables in their foods, such as french own school garden. fries and cheese“There’s just nothing like kids plant- burgers. Almost one third of schools ing the seed and watching it come still offer whole milk, despite governup,” says Virginia Chomitz, a senior ment guidelines recommending nonscientist at the Institute for Com- fat or low-fat milk for children age 2 munity Health, based at the Cam- and older. And while most schools are bridge Health Alliance. “A child who meeting targets for protein and vitawouldn’t even look at a snow pea mins, 42 percent fail to offer fresh fruit before will pop it in her mouth and or raw vegetables on a daily basis. have a new and positive experience Unhealthy eating has contributed about food.” to a childhood-obesity epidemic in That new and positive experience this country. One third of America’s has been missing for far too long. youth are now overweight or obese, The National School Lunch Program putting them at risk for chronic 8 BACK TO SCHOOL illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The obesity crisis has alarmed public-health officials and propelled better nutrition into the spotlight. First lady Michelle Obama has made school lunch a pillar of her Let’s Move initiative, launched earlier this year. Major food suppliers have joined in, pledging to decrease sugar, fat, and salt; increase whole grains; and double the amount of fruits and veggies served in school meals within 10 years. On Capitol Hill, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, which seeks to increase mealreimbursement rates so schools can buy higher-quality and fresher foods, is making its way through the legislature. And the push to feed students more nutritious meals has even made it to prime-time TV: in a recent Top Chef episode featuring White House assistant chef Sam Kass as guest judge, contestants competed to create a healthy, kid-friendly school lunch on a limited budget. Thumbs down: banana pudding doused in sugar. Best of the bunch: pork carnitas, cole slaw made with yogurt, chicken ﬂavored with apple cider, and melon kebabs. Lessons learned from the Cambridge initiative, which was launched in 1998, are relevant to any school district in the country. First and foremost, revolutionizing school lunch is no easy task. One major hurdle: adjusting a food-service culture that has been entrenched for decades. Lunch staff are used to serving canned goods and reheating foods prepared elsewhere, because feeding kids quickly and efficiently on a budget has long been the goal—not necessarily feeding them well. Chomitz and Olcott, who work collaboratively through Cambridge’s Healthy Children Task Force, have learned that change will come only when school administrators make NEWSWEEK.COM 9 nutrition a top-down priority, not an fruits and vegetables, the better: a child afterthought. Chomitz learned how who picks a tomato or slices a carlow nutrition ranked when she ﬁrst rot wants to eat it. So the Cambridge approached the Cambridge school team partnered with a local schoolsystem about improving its lunch gardening group called City Sprouts to offerings a decade ago: the superin- create school-based gardens. Whenever tendent told Chomitz she’d never had possible, the produce grown was featured in the cafeteria a conversation with as a fruit or vegetable a food-service staff MANY FOOD-SERVICE of the month. member. “It never STAFFERS HADN’T School lunches candawned on her.” BEEN TRAINED TO CUT not be remade in one Fortunately, the OR COOK. SOME DIDN’T giant leap. In Camschool system agreed KNOW HOW TO PEEL bridge, goal No. 1 was to join forces and A VEGETABLE. simply adding fresh hired a proactive foodfruits and vegetables. service manager who was eager to support better nutrition. Next up: new dishes created with local Using funding obtained through fed- produce. In 2006 the school system eral, state, and local grants, Chomitz hired part-time chef Vin Connelly to and her team purchased fresh fruits develop tasty, kid-friendly recipes. Here and vegetables and brought them into again, the team had to be sensitive to the schools for kids to sample. Cam- longtime food staffers. “I can’t walk into bridge public schools serve a broad mix a kitchen and say, ‘Chef Vin is here—get of students: 64 percent are nonwhite out of the way,’ ” says Connelly. “A lot of and 41 percent are low income. “A lot these people have been in their job 25 of the children had never seen a whole years. Like anybody else, they’re resishead of broccoli before in its fresh raw tant to change.” It became clear that form,” says Olcott. College students food-service members had to be actively volunteered to help, and together they involved in the process, not simply told handed out small tasting cups at caf- what to do. Bringing everyone together eteria tables and talked to the kids for a recipe demonstration turned out about each of the items. The goal was to be “totally ineffective,” says Chomitz. not just to get children excited about Instead, Olcott and Connelly had to brightly colored fruits and vegetables, meet with staff at every school indibut also to convince food-service staff vidually to introduce them to the most that the kids would actually eat them. basic skills. Many of them hadn’t been Not only did they eat them, “they’d trained to cut or cook. Some didn’t come back for seconds and frequently know how to peel a vegetable. And there was another major thirds,” says Olcott. The more experience kids have with challenge: outdated and ill-equipped 10 BACK TO SCHOOL kitchens. When Olcott and Connelly ing it and liking it,” says Connelly. The Cambridge team is realistic attempted to lay out how to make the ﬁrst recipe—a simple mix of butternut about how radically it can transform squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown school cafeterias. A complete revolusugar, and oil—they immediately tion is economically and practically noticed staff members looking at each difficult to accomplish, and the eleother as if something was wrong. “We mentary-school menu still contains were telling them to measure out a some of the old standbys—mac and tablespoon of cinnamon,” says Olcott. cheese, spaghetti and meat sauce. But “They said, ‘We don’t have measuring options have markedly improved. spoons and cups.’ I hadn’t realized they Today kids can choose grilled-chicken didn’t have that kind of basic equip- fajitas, vegetarian chili, lentil soup, ment.” The condition of school ovens tomato-basil-mozzarella salad, and differed signiﬁcantly, so the recipe roasted sweet-potato fries with cumin had to be tweaked. In one kitchen, the and chili powder. One day, after Olcott bake time was 40 minutes; in another, and Connelly encouraged staff partici60. “We had to work with the staff at pation, a food-service member showed each of the schools to coach them and up with her own batch of golden broth change the recipe based on what their with fresh cabbage, turnips, carrots, butternut squash, and potatoes. “It ovens could do,” says Olcott. Patience and ﬂexibility are critical was fabulous,” says Olcott. “Marie’s to the success of lunch makeovers. Haitian Soup” is now a regular feature. Ultimately, the key to improving It took 14 months to get Chef Vin’s butternut squash on school menus. any lunch program is sustainability. “If the program only Every step posed new works when the chef challenges: creating ‘A LOT OF THE is in the kitchen, it the recipe, conductCHILDREN HAD NEVER will never be successing taste tests with SEEN A WHOLE HEAD ful,” says Connelly. kids and finessing OF BROCCOLI BEFORE One-on-one training the mixture, findIN ITS FRESH RAW and straightforward, ing a local vendor FORM,’ SAYS OLCOTT. simple recipes are the who could supply way to go. The pay450 pounds of diced squash, getting staff up to speed in off is enormous, especially when kids their kitchens. And lunch reformers learn healthy habits early in life and must be prepared for the palates of make them part of their daily routine. children, too, who don’t always take to “I’ve had kids say, ‘I want my mom or a new food instantaneously. “You have dad to make this at home,’ ” says Conto present it to them seven, eight, nine nelly. “I think that’s a testament that it’s times for them to be comfortable try- working. That makes me feel great.” NEWSWEEK.COM 11 ADVERTISEMENT Beyond Hot Dogs After a White House visit, chef Kathy Gunst is putting school lunch on the menu. READING, WRITING AND… EATING What happened when you got home from the White House? I contacted the principal at my local elementary school. The next thing I know, a landscape architect who is redesigning the school’s landscape said, “Do you want a greenhouse?” Within a month everything had changed. What are your immediate plans? I’m hoping to get the greenhouse and garden up early this fall, and I’m going into the classroom in September to teach food education and cooking to the kids. The goal is to get the teachers to work the greenhouse into their curriculum, from art to science to writing projects. What about school lunch? This is very tricky. A lot of the foods they buy are frozen or canned. My plan is to examine that and, with the budget 12 BACK TO SCHOOL they have, see if we can augment it with a salad bar and fresh fruits. Eventually, these foods would come from what we grow. One of the most horrifying things is what kids are bringing to eat from home. Bologna in plastic trays. It’s become a crapfood contest in the cafeterias. Who said kids only like hot dogs and chicken nuggets? What kinds of local fruits and vegetables could you serve? Apples, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkins. One of the things we’re going to have to do is make fall vegetables sexy. I’m hoping to make the rest of the school system insanely jealous so they’ll want to do it, too. Who’s paying? It’s completely voluntary. Parents are coming to build the greenhouse, plant and weed. Everybody in the community wants to help. They’re deeply interested in improving the quality of food. How optimistic are you? It’s very dreamy right now, and I’m filled with enthusiasm. Check back in a year. One out of three kids is now considered overweight or obese. DAN GAIR —BLIND DOG PHOTO In early June, first lady Michelle Obama urged hundreds of chefs to adopt schools in their communities. Afterward, Maine chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst talked with NEWSWEEK’s Claudia Kalb. WE ALL KNOW THAT CONSUMING ENOUGH LOW-FAT DAIRY, WHOLE GRAINS, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES helps ensure that children grow up healthy and fit. While parents obviously determine what babies, toddlers and younger children eat, kids exert more control over their food choices as they move into middle and high school. Unfortunately, their eating habits sometimes change for the worse. Even if they ate healthy foods as toddlers and in the elementary-school years, when they get to middle school, they have easy access to snacks and junk foods. While there is never a good time to neglect nutrition, the middle-school years may be particularly bad. Because kids are growing rapidly at this age, they need plenty of food, but it’s crucial that it be good food, explains Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition. “Middle schoolers need diets low in saturated fat, rather than total fat; they need calcium from low-fat dairy, and they need whole grains,” he says. “As caloric needs increase during this period of rapid growth, the risk of obesity increases if kids are getting additional calories from fat and junk foods.” His concerns are well-founded. One out of three kids is now considered overweight or obese, with almost 7 percent of U.S. sixth graders severely obese. Many of the risk factors for heart disease are already present even in pre-adolescent ADVERTISEMENT children, and diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, once problems only for older people, are becoming all too common in children. The problem is a tough one, but schools are a logical place to intervene. According to Jenny Favret, a registered dietitian and pediatric nutritionist with the Healthy Lifestyles Program at Duke University’s Children’s Hospital & Health Center, in Durham, NC, middle Roberto Garza, Offensive Guard, #63, Chicago Bears, Fuel Up to Play 60 Spokesperson school is an excellent time to step in. “The earlier we can instill healthy habits, the better, but the middle-school years are not too late,” she says. “In fact, they’re a good time. This is an age when children are ready to buy into a healthy lifestyle message. Several studies demonstrate that when children are offered healthy food they will choose it.” Real Food Half the battle of getting kids to eat healthier food is providing these foods for them to eat. But this isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Drew Patterson, chef and assistant director of production for nutrition services at the Ohio State University Medical Center, in Columbus, is currently working with the Ohio Department of Education to train school nutrition staff to cook homemade food for the students, rather than relying on processed and convenience foods. While the program is going over well, according to Patterson, there are challenges. For one thing, “Many schools aren’t even set up to cook; they’ve just been warming up convenience foods,” he says. The Gooding Joint School District, in Gooding, ID, has taken up the HealthierUS Schools Challenge (HUSSC), a program of the USDA to improve the health environment of the nation’s schools. The Gooding district contracted with local farmers to grow fruits and vegetables specifically for the schools, and Anji Baumann, child-nutrition director of the Gooding district, began introducing many meals using local produce. School cooks throughout the district have since taken up the challenge of cooking more healthful food. Fresh fruits and vegetables and a baked-potato bar (this is Idaho, after all) are now regular features in Gooding lunchrooms. Gooding Elementary was the first school to receive a Gold Award of Distinction from the USDA as part of the HUSSC 2010. If Gooding’s students are any measure, the image of kids as picky eaters may be misleading and Half the battle of getting kids to eat healthier food is providing these foods for them to eat. unfair. “We can’t keep cucumbers. Cucumbers are hands down the most popular vegetable,” says Baumann. The kids also love strawberries. “One week we went through 480 pounds of strawberries. They just ate and ate and ate them.” Packaging counts, too. As part of their participation in Fuel Up to Play 60, students at George Washington Carver School, in Newark, NJ, were heavily involved in decisions about their school’s nutrition program. One of the changes they asked for was that milk be offered in recyclable, single-serve plastic bottles. “The bottles are a little more fashionable than the paper cartons,” explains Carver principal Winston Jackson. And sure enough, Jackson says, once the bottles arrived, the kids started drinking more milk. Choice and Voice The Houston School District, the seventh largest district in the nation, discovered that kids want two things: choice and voice. When, as part of Fuel Up to Play 60, Houston kids became engaged with the effort to improve their schools’ menus, they made it clear that they didn’t want to be told, “Eat this; it’s good for you.” They wanted to be taught how to choose healthy foods and then be given opportunities to make their own choices and promote more healthful foods throughout their schools. This makes perfect sense to the AAP’s Dr. Daniels. “Kids need to have some ownership of their food; they need to know about what it is and where it comes from,” he says. ADVERTISEMENT Something to Feel Good About Students at Enslow Middle School in Huntington, WV, stepped up and took action for their own health with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program despite making international news not long ago. Enslow was profiled by British chef Jamie Oliver in a television program called Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Oliver’s stateside version of his televised efforts to educate the British public about healthy eating. Oliver came to town to spotlight the city and demonstrate to the citizens of Huntington, which had been named by the CDC as among the nation’s than she’d hoped: The Enslow students eventually won first place in the Fuel Up to Play 60 national competition, in which they earned points by eating nutritious foods, being active and engaging in school activities. Winning the national competition enabled the students to earn not only the pedometers, but a $20,000 makeover for the school cafeteria and a HOPSports interactive youth physical education training system. The program was so successful at Enslow in part because the students up till then hadn’t had much choice or voice. “We are a very Middle schoolers need plenty of food, but it’s crucial that it be good food—low in saturated fat, sugar and salt, and high in whole grains and calcium from low-fat dairy. unhealthiest areas, how they could elevate their health status by learning about nutrition and improving their diets. Lisa Riley, director of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program at Enslow, didn’t have much time to worry about Oliver’s visit. She was too busy trying to figure out how she could afford pedometers for her students. She had read in a journal article that regular physical activity could help raise test scores, and she wanted to start a walking club. Meanwhile, she heard about Fuel Up to Play 60 and figured that “this would enable us to get pedometers,” Riley recalls. The program went over even better small, Title 1 school,” explains Riley. “We are the underdog in sports and we usually don’t score well on yearly state assessments, but Fuel Up to Play 60 was something the kids could use to really boost their self-esteem.” As it turned out, building their self-esteem by giving them the opportunity to be successful at fitness and nutrition goals was far more effective. Self-esteem is something Enslow students should have plenty of these days. The awards just keep coming. In June, Riley and some of her students traveled to New York to accept a bronze National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in acknowledgment of their success in creating a healthier school environment. One Enslow eighth grader, who was a participant on the national student panel and met Bill Clinton, spoke highly of Fuel Up to Play 60. “It was fun and easy to do,” he said of the program. The students’ efforts have made a difference beyond just winning awards and garnering some good national publicity. “My eating habits have definitely changed at home, too,” the teen said. “For one thing, I drink more water. My family has listened, too. I told them about good nutrition and now they are eating better.” Newark’s Winston Jackson has also noticed this ripple effect from schools’ efforts to improve lifestyles. “The Fuel Up to Play 60 program had a big impact on our students, and on the staff, too. We are all eating better, and we designed a walking path around the school. Since the kids can’t walk on it Michael Clayton, Wide Receiver, #80, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Fuel Up to Play 60 Spokesperson without teachers present, we are all walking more,” he says. According to Jackson, this is not a flash-in-the-pan change. After seeing the benefits of the program, he says that the school is “planning to do everything we can to continue to make sure our students and staff get exercise and eat as healthfully as they can.” The middle-school years are a time of many changes, and clearly many of them can be changes for the better. But perhaps the really exciting truth is that when students adopt healthier lifestyles, they can become the teachers, taking the message of a healthier lifestyle back home and into their communities. GREEN-JACKSON WITH BERNARD. A Fitness Revolution Obesity killed her brother. Now Pamela Green-Jackson is helping schools close the phys-ed gap. it was after midnight when Pamela Green-Jackson sat up in bed in her home in Albany, Ga., and woke her husband. She told him that a dream had inspired her to start an exercise and nutrition program for kids. “He told me to go back to sleep, that I couldn’t save the world,” GreenJackson says. “I said, why not?” Sure enough, Green-Jackson got out of bed the next morning and immediately began fundraising for her project, which she named Youth Becoming Healthy (YBH). Within a month, she had received $30,000 in grants. A team of volunteers helped to turn one of the classrooms at a local middle school into a fitness center. They brought in a mix of new and used equipment: four bikes, four treadmills, one Universal machine, an elliptical, and benches. 18 BACK TO SCHOOL They painted the walls the school colors—burgundy and white—and purchased Dance Dance Revolution, a videogame that allows players to keep track of how many calories they burn in “workout mode.” Green-Jackson passed out sign-up sheets for the fitness program, which would take place after school, and 180 kids put down their names. It was the winter of 2003, and GreenJackson’s timing was eerie. Right after she and her team of volunteers began renovating the classroom, her obese 43-year-old brother, Bernard Green, developed uncontrolled diabetes. Less than a month later, he died weighing 427 pounds. The loss instilled GreenJackson with an even greater sense of urgency, and she decided to quit her job at the Albany Herald to focus full time COURTESY OF JACKSON FAMILY by johannah cornblatt on helping children avoid the same physical activity and academic fate as her brother. “People need to achievement. “If kids are not healthy break bad habits while they’re young and well, they’re not going to be proand not wait until they’re 40 years old,” ductive and able to use whatever Green-Jackson says. Today, YBH has other kinds of skills ﬁtness centers in all six of Albany’s they have,” she says. public middle schools, as well as three With dangerously low standards for physielementary schools. Grassroots projects like YBH have cal education in most become increasingly common across states, YBH serves as the country as communities search for a model for communinew and innovative ways to battle the ties that want to encourage nation’s childhood-obesity epidem- kids—in a fun and healthy way—to ic. Since the passage of the No Child move more and eat better. The need for physical and nutriLeft Behind Act in 2001, most schools have focused their time and ﬁnancial tion education is particularly strong in resources on test subjects—reading, Green-Jackson’s home state, which has writing, and math—at the expense the third-highest rate of youth obesity of activities like PE, says Judy Young in the country. (Mississippi and Arkanof the American Alliance for Health, sas rank ﬁrst and second, respectively, Physical Education, Recreation and according to a 2009 report from the Dance. Only one state—Alabama— Trust for America’s Health and the meets the recommended 150 minutes Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.) In Georgia, kids are per week of PE in required to take PE in elementary school A TEAM OF elementary school but and 225 minutes per VOLUNTEERS HELPED not in middle school. week in middle and TO TURN ONE In fact, only 55 perhigh school, accordCLASSROOM INTO A cent of middle-school ing to the 2010 Shape FITNESS CENTER. students in Georgia of the Nation Report: meet the Centers for Status of Physical Education in the USA, released by the Disease Control and Prevention reNational Association for Sport and quirements for recommended physiPhysical Education and the American cal activity, but 15 percent are obese, Heart Association. Young says according to the Georgia Department that proposed revisions to No of Community Health. That lack of exercise, combined with Child Left Behind, which are in the works in many offices easy access to unhealthy food and on Capitol Hill, underscore drinks, is making kids sick, says Dr. the correlation between Tanya Smith, a pediatrician in Albany NEWSWEEK.COM 19 and the president of YBH. Smith says she has seen children as young as 4 with high blood pressure and full-blown diabetes. Many overweight preteen girls come to her with menstrual issues, and one of her young obese patients had such severe sleep apnea that he needed a tracheotomy. Obese children are at increased risk for a host of other medical conditions, including hypertension, asthma, and low self-esteem. “These kids are having issues that they have no business having,” Green-Jackson says. And the price is high: according to the Georgia Department of Community Health, obesity costs Georgia an estimated $2.4 million a year (or $250 per Georgian each year). YBH aims to reach children where they spend the majority of their time: on school grounds. Now in its seventh year, YBH offers a range of kidrequested activities, including hip-hop dance, martial arts, weightlifting, and walking clubs after school hours. In fact, YBH ﬁtness instructors encourage all the program’s participants to keep track of their total daily steps using a pedometer or step counter (every 10,000 steps equals ﬁve miles, which is the goal for the day). YBH also brings in nutritionists to teach kids about making better food choices and how to read labels. After opening ﬁtness facilities in nine schools in Albany, YBH also started offering a free 20 BACK TO SCHOOL four-week camp last summer. In order to attend the camp, which is funded through donations, children must be referred by a pediatrician and have at least one chronic disease related to obesity. So far, the results have been promising. Green-Jackson estimates that since 2003, participants in YBH have collectively lost thousands of pounds. That kind of success doesn’t come easily. Green-Jackson cites the cost of equipment and qualiﬁed instructors, as well as parental transportation to and from ﬁtness centers after school hours, as the biggest obstacles. “One person can’t do this alone,” she says. She recommends gaining the support of the school board, hospitals, pediatricians, and other willing volunteers. “I’ve seen 20 other programs right here in this city we live in start and fail over the years,” says Green-Jackson’s husband, Larry, who became a certiﬁed youth trainer and now helps his wife run YBH. “We haven’t failed because my wife stayed true to what she started. She continued to focus on the kids.” One of those kids is 14-year-old Malik Thomas, who, at nearly 400 pounds, sometimes struggles just to walk. Green-Jackson spotted Malik and his mother, Karen, at Walmart one day and approached them to tell them about YBH. “The ﬁrst time that I met her, I told her she was just a godsend to me,” Karen says. “Her brother had gone through the same thing. I could talk to her, and I cried. She cried with me.” The Thomas fam- aged Warren, who will be a high-school ily soon began participating in YBH, senior this fall, to launch Youth in meeting with a nutritionist and several Action for Healthy Lifestyles, a stuother families twice a week. The nutri- dent-run program that aims to educate tionist gave out healthy recipes and kids in Albany about the importance of even distributed a prize to the family physical activity and healthy eating. It that lost the most weight. (“That wasn’t brings together about 60 people ages 5 to 25 every weekend to participate in a us,” Karen admits.) For families like the Thomases, YBH range of physical activities—including has become a reliable source of both aerobics, softball, jump-roping, soccer, physical and emotional support. Malik and volleyball—at a local park, school, or convention center. lost nearly 20 pounds Warren’s staff now at the YBH camp last THE PROGRAM includes 10 teenagers summer and, even OFFERS HIP-HOP who received trainthough he’s in high DANCE, MARTIAL ARTS, ing from the Doughschool now, he still WEIGHTLIFTING, erty County Health uses YBH facilities to AND WALKING CLUBS. Department and who exercise after school. advise other students “I’m just hoping that Malik can be normal and do some of on nutritious eating. Green-Jackson the things that regular-size kids can continues to serve as a mentor to Wardo,” Karen says. Green-Jackson, who ren. “She’s been a backbone to my proalways calls to check on Malik if he gram,” Warren says. In the future, Green-Jackson would misses a workout session, continues to play a key role in reaching that goal. like to make it easier for kids to eat well both on and off school grounds. “She’s very motivating,” Karen says. Green-Jackson inspired one student Serving a nutritious breakfast in the not only to lose weight, but also to classroom would be a great place to launch a health and wellness program start, she says. Green-Jackson also of her own. Jasmine Warren enrolled in has some innovative ideas for the YBH in the sixth grade, when she was hours after the last bell rings: one day, 11 years old and weighed 153 pounds. she would like YBH to take mobile After a year of running on the tread- fruit and vegetable stands into lowmill, biking, and doing aerobics, she income areas. There, she envisions shed 35 pounds. “It was fun,” Warren launching gardening programs to says. “The program was a big success teach children how to grow their own for me.” Warren says that Green- fruit and vegetables. “My wife is a big Jackson has made a “wonderful dreamer,” says Larry. For all those difference” in their community. she’s inspired so far, that is turning Indeed, Green-Jackson encour- out to be a very good thing indeed. NEWSWEEK.COM 21 ADVERTISEMENT LEARNING TO GET Roberto Garza, Offensive Guard, #63, Chicago Bears, Fuel Up to Play 60 Spokesperson USED TO BE, KIDS ORGANIZED GAMES OF RED ROVER AND PLAYED HOPSCOTCH ON THE SIDEWALK. These days, when children want to have fun, they’re more likely to fire up the computer or game console. “Kids have forgotten how to play,” says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. “So many things where they don’t actively move are vying for their time and attention.” No wonder three or four times as many American kids are overweight or obese as a generation ago. Yet keeping kids moving can lead to unexpected payoffs. FIT Stronger Bodies, Sharper Minds While you may know that exercise leads to better cardiovascular fitness, reduced body fat and stronger bones, getting active can also improve academic performance. In a study of 214 middle-school students by researchers from Michigan State University, in East Lansing, those who participated in vigorous physical activities did about 10 percent better in core classes like math, science and English. “It’s a win-win,” says James Pivarnik, Ph.D., an MSU professor of kinesiology and epidemiology and past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “The more active and fit kids seem to do better on test scores and grades.” In addition, exercise breaks during the school day have been shown to improve learning and classroom behavior. And regular physical activity has psychological benefits that can help kids cope socially and deal with peer pressure. Current guidelines call for kids to get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. Yet according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, only 42 percent of children ages 6 to 11 and a mere 8 percent of adolescents meet that goal. Wake Up to Wellness Schools in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program are carving out active time for kids in unique and creative ways. At Bailly Elementary School, in Chesterton, IN, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, cafeteria manager Lisa Ozimek teamed up with school nurse Marian Danko last year to launch a walking club in the half hour before classes started. “As soon as the kids came in, they got a healthy breakfast and then joined me in the gym,” says Ozimek. Feedback from teachers has been equally positive. “Teachers said the kids coming from the program were awake, had all their fidgeting out of the way and were ready to learn when they came into the classroom,” reports Bailly’s principal, Michael Grubbs. The school’s students did so well with Fuel Up to Play 60 that they surpassed all other Indiana schools in the program. As a result, they earned additional fitness equipment—including hurdles and an Schools in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program are carving out active time for kids in unique and creative ways. At first, the students simply walked the gym’s perimeter. Soon, however, the two advisors began pulling out jump ropes and balls for children to play with. “Then we decided to take it up another notch,” says Ozimek. They recruited members of the community to introduce children to new types of fitness activities—a physical therapist who taught the kids stretching and yoga poses, and a local martial-arts instructor. “He had the students breaking boards with karate chops,” she says. “Kids couldn’t wait to get to the gym in the mornings. Some even had their parents drop them off early.” The program started with about 15 to 20 students, but once word got around, the number jumped to 160. “I love fitness,” says one Bailly student. “It makes the day more fun at school, and I know I’m doing something good for my body.” agility ladder—as well as a visit from team personnel from the Indianapolis Colts. “I never thought it would get as big as it did,” says Ozimek. “It made a big difference with these kids and it’s a big deal with us.” Class Action Motivating students to get up and move is an even greater challenge when kids reach middle school. For one thing, teen-level sports get more competitive and expensive, and participation rates drop. Boltz Middle School, in Fort Collins, CO, wanted to appeal to students at every fitness level when it signed on to Fuel Up to Play 60. So teachers enlisted students to help design a program that every kid would respond to. The result: fun “fitness kits” that teachers can borrow to give students exercise breaks. ADVERTISEMENT “Students loved the idea,” says Jamie Quiros, a Spanish teacher at Boltz. “They brainstormed a list of 10 items they could see themselves playing with and figured out how much they could spend on the items, based on the budget we had.” The kids then placed the items in different bins, from standard gym fare like volleyballs, footballs and basketballs, to unconventional fitness “gear” such as kites, juggling sets, Frisbees and Hula-hoops. Such activities limit competition, which can lead to unwelcome social comparisons, and elimination games. “It’s attractive to almost every kid,” says Quiros. “There’s something there for everybody.” Teachers use the kits in various situations—after students have finished a project, for instance, or as a reward after taking a test. “If you put two or three 10-minute exercise breaks into the school day, that’s 20 to 30 minutes of exercise kids weren’t getting before,” says Pivarnik. The kits are popular with both teachers and students. “I’ve noticed a radical increase in the number of groups outside and being active,” says Lisa McVicker, the school’s principal. “It’s got everyone thinking, ‘How can I incorporate little periods of activity into the day?’ Passive learning doesn’t work well, especially at the middle-school level. Teenagers need to be active. The more they use their bodies, the better their brains work.” And in Michigan, the Detroit Lions’ Youth Football coach led an on-field workout for students, with players on hand to promote healthy eating and physical activity NFL on the Field for Kids All 32 NFL teams are active in Fuel Up to Play 60 in their local areas. Players and team mascots have attended school assemblies and been featured in posters, videos, PSAs and more, while students get the opportunity to use stadiums and training facilities. For example, the Carolina Panthers opened “The Fuel Up to Play 60 Kid’s Combine,” a free area that promotes fitness through football drills for children and their families on the Panthers’ practice fields. In Arizona, the school with the most Fuel Up to Play 60 points won the chance to participate in a special Cardinals Kids Camp at the University of Phoenix Stadium, where they tried out various obstacle courses with an NFL theme. Teenagers need to be active. The more they use their bodies, the better their brains work. Fitness for All Schools are tapping into every resource available to boost fitness in kids—including kids with disabilities. For example, the Miami-Dade County Public School System in Miami, FL, participates in I Can Do It, You Can Do It, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Disability, the National Institutes Of Health, and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Through the program, adult mentors are paired with students who face physical or intellectual disabilities. By working with community recreational groups and private facilities, the school system is able to offer unique opportunities to students with disabilities. For instance, kids can learn how to sail at local sailing or yacht clubs, which are generally empty during the week, according to Jayne Greenberg, Ed.D., executive director of physical education and health literacy for the school system. Students with disabilities can sign up to snorkel, ride horses or play sled hockey or wheelchair basketball with the help of volunteers—all during the regular school day. Like Fuel Up to Play 60, the program requires students to track their fitness habits online or on paper. After six weeks of regular exercise, they’re eligible for a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) patch and certificate. Last year, 1,200 Miami-Dade students with disabilities received the award. (For information, go to www.presidentschallenge.org or call 800-258-8146.) Miami-Dade’s regular PE program also offers all children an unusual roster of activities, such as scuba diving and kayaking, and spinning, yoga and Pilates classes. “Now even kids who aren’t required to take PE are opting back in,” Greenberg says. That’s true for students all over the country, as more schools take the lead in promoting fitness. “There’s no downside to exercise,” says Boltz Middle School’s McVicker. “It benefits everybody.” Throw Away the Junk Food HINES WARD, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Two NFL superstars share their secrets about exercise and healthy eating. by nayeli rodriguez How can healthy teens positively influence their peers’ fitness? Challenge your friends, and encourage them to come outside. Even if you can’t get them to eat healthy, if you exercise with them you’re doing them a favor. If you exercise, can you pay less attention to what you eat? You really want to be doing both. You’re always going to go back to your foundation MAURICE JONES-DREW, running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars and what you know, so it’s all about learning responsibility and great habits. I had a higher metabolism when I was young, so the things I’m used to eating, now that I’m older, my body’s not burning them in the same way. What I’m doing now is re-teaching myself, trying to get going the right way. I wish I’d started eating healthy earlier because then I’d be used to it. Do you have any good tips on how to eat healthy during the day? Always carry fruit. It helps your body and uses enzymes to help your body break down what you’ve already eaten. Even McDonald’s sells fruit, and it’s always good to snack on those because it fills you up right away, it’s not putting a lot in your stomach, and it helps break down everything else as well. You don’t always have to eat the exact perfect meal, but having fruits and vegetables in your diet will help out a bunch. I like fruits like nectarines, pineapples, and mangos. And I’m a big broccoli fan—you can’t knock it till you try it! Why is eating healthy so important? ward: As a football player you have to watch what you eat. The same goes for our nation’s kids. A third of them are dealing with an obesity problem. And now with the economy taking away school programs that educate students on how to eat healthy, it’s really up to the kids to get outside and apply their knowledge on how to eat well on their own instead of sitting on their couch playing Xbox all day. AL MESSERSCHMIDT —GETTY IMAGES (2) What are the easiest ways to build fitness into a daily routine? jones-drew: Going outside for a walk and talking, a pickup game of basketball or kickball; just whatever it is that you do, go outside and do it. Instead of getting a ride from school, walk home. Or take a bike. Swimming is a great way to get exercise, too; it’s the best way, actually, and it’s something people do for recreation, too. Where should students start when it comes to making healthy eating choices? Throw away all the junk food. If you don’t have the accessibility, it makes it easier to eat healthy. Ask your parents not to buy certain things, and that makes it easier to have good eating habits. Try not to eat after 8 o’clock at night. Drink a lot of water. And if you want a snack, there’s nothing wrong with that, but get fruit, like grapes or apples. How can students help their friends eat healthy? Nutrition is everything. It takes a lot to be disciplined about that. Sometimes it takes a friend; ask a friend to help you. You can convince your friends to help each other out. Ask each other, “Did you drink water?” Encourage your friends. At the end of the day, if they lose weight, they are proud of it and they’ll thank you. What good changes can healthy eating bring for teens? They’ll have more energy and more self-esteem. You should care about exercising because it makes you feel a lot better and improves your confidence. A lot of kids who are better with their health are more confident than kids who aren’t eating as healthy or who don’t care. Are there any big mistakes to avoid when starting to work out? You have to want to do it. You can talk a lot about it, but if you don’t take [the] road to doing it, then you won’t get in shape. You don’t have to start out right away, you can go slowly. It’s like smokers—you can’t quit overnight. Walk a mile. If you feel comfortable after that, add a half a mile. It’s hard for the first week, but in the long haul, if you’re disciplined enough to do it, it’s amazing how it works. NEWSWEEK.COM 27 ADVERTISEMENT What Kids Eat There are recommendations— and then reality. FLAVORED MILK by ian yarett 73 percent of the recommended dairy. But 31 percent of milk intake is in the form of whole or 2 percent milk. Choose lowfat or fat-free milk products instead, and make sure to find other sources of calcium if you don’t consume milk. 57 percent of the recommended oils. But 28 percent of those oils are in the form of corn-based salty snacks and potato chips. It’s best to get your fats from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils, while minimizing consumption of solid (saturated or trans) fats like butter or margarine. 71 percent of the recommended meats and beans. But 33 percent of those are in the form of sandwiches and burgers. Choose lean meats, fish, and poultry—baked, broiled, or grilled rather than fried—and try to eat beans, nuts, and seeds, as opposed to just beef. 45 percent of the recommended fruits. But 53 percent of those are in the form of juice. It’s better to minimize consumption of fruit drinks, which are high in sugar. 44 percent of the recommended vegetables. But 22 percent of those vegetables are in the form of fries and potato chips. Stay away from fried food when possible, and eat more green and orange vegetables. 118 percent of the recommended grains. But 27 percent of those grains are in the form of sandwiches, burgers, and pizza. More whole grains like brown rice or whole-wheat bread would be a better choice. PROVIDES NINE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS ALL MILK—REGULAR AND FLAVORED—CONTAINS A UNIQUE COMBINATION OF NUTRIENTS important for growth and development, including three of the five “nutrients of concern” for which children have inadequate intakes. And, flavored milk accounts for less than 3.5% of added sugar intake in children ages 6 to 12 and less than 2% in teens. FIVE REASONS WHY FLAVORED MILK MATTERS 1. Kids love the taste Milk provides nutrients essential for good health and kids will drink more when it’s flavored. 2. Nine essential nutrients Flavored milk contains the same nine essential nutrients as white milk—calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin (niacin equivalents)—and is a healthful alternative to soft drinks. 3. Helps kids achieve 3 servings Drinking low-fat or fat-free white or flavored milk helps kids get the 3 daily servings* of dairy foods recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 4. Better diet quality Children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs; do not consume more added sugar or total fat; and are not heavier than non-milk drinkers. 5. Top choice in schools Low-fat flavored milk is the most popular milk choice in schools and kids drink less (and get fewer nutrients) if it’s taken away. These health and nutrition organizations support 3-Every-Day™ of Dairy, a science-based nutrition education program encouraging Americans to consume the recommended three daily servings of nutrient-rich low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products to improve overall health. For more information, visit www.nationaldairycouncil.org/childnutrition. *Daily Recommendations: 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk or equivalent milk products for those 9 years of age and older and 2 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk or equivalent milk products for children 2-8 years old. 28 BACK TO SCHOOL SOURCES : INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE , U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ENDING CHILDHOOD OBESITY WITHIN A GENERATION We support school-based nutrition and physical fitness initiatives, such as Fuel Up to Play 60, that help achieve these guiding principles: 1. Increase access to and consumption of affordable and appealing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats in and out of school. 2. Stimulate children and youth to be more physically active for 60 minutes every day in and out of school. 3. Boost resources (financial/rewards/incentives/ training/technical assistance) to schools in order to improve physical fitness and nutrition programs. 4. Educate and motivate children and youth to eat the recommended daily servings of nutrient-rich foods and beverages. 5. Empower children and youth to take action at their school and at home to develop their own pathways to better fitness and nutrition for life.
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