How to Build a Healthy

to Build
In association with
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
©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.
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
The Washington Post Company
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
CHAIRMAN: Richard M. Smith
EDITOR: Jon Meacham
EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Lally Weymouth
Debra Rosenberg
Johannah Cornblatt, Claudia Kalb,
Nayeli Rodriguez, David Satcher, Ian Yarett
Andrew James Capelli
Sara McKay
Kristen Ren
Ignacio Kleva
Steve Walkowiak
Michael Fodera, Michelle Molloy, James Wellford
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
David Olivenbaum (chief), Andrew Cohen,
Lisa DeLisle, Jacqueline F. Kurtzberg, Steve Noveck,
Alessandra Rafferty, Carl Rosen, Jay Wilkins
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
by zsuzsanna ilijin
Tom Ascheim
Alyson Racer
Patrick K. Hagerty
Angela Leaney
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 to get involved.
John M. Ernst
© 2010 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved.
395 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
Tom Vilsack
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
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
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
problems and type
behavior, including
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
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.
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
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
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
1,100 school districts.
changes that promote
Now some 90 perhealthful eating and
cent of schools have
physical activity; and
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.
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
offered. A chef is crerange of choices for
ating nutritious recistudents, but many
pes. And students are
of those options are
growing fruits and
high-fat, high-calorie
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
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
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
of the month.
member. “It never
School lunches candawned on her.”
not be remade in one
Fortunately, the
giant leap. In Camschool system agreed
bridge, goal No. 1 was
to join forces and
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
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
is in the kitchen, it
the recipe, conductCHILDREN HAD NEVER
will never be successing taste tests with
ful,” says Connelly.
kids and finessing
One-on-one training
the mixture, findIN ITS FRESH RAW
and straightforward,
ing a local vendor
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.”
Beyond Hot Dogs
After a White House visit,
chef Kathy Gunst is putting
school lunch on the menu.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
elementary school but
and 225 minutes per
not in middle school.
week in middle and
In fact, only 55 perhigh school, accordCLASSROOM INTO A
cent of middle-school
ing to the 2010 Shape
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
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
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
includes 10 teenagers
summer and, even
who received trainthough he’s in high
ing from the Doughschool now, he still
erty County Health
uses YBH facilities to
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.
Roberto Garza, Offensive Guard, #63,
Chicago Bears, Fuel Up to Play 60
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.
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.
“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
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
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 or call
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
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
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.
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.
What Kids Eat
There are recommendations—
and then reality.
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
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
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.
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.
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
*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.
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.