Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and First Lady Ginger Beebe pledged their support to the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, an in-school health and wellness program that encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The Governor and First Lady joined students from Weiner High School in Weiner, Arkansas, dairy farmers and members of Midwest Dairy Council to sign the symbolic pledge.

At the proclamation signing, the Governor and First Lady praised the progress achieved to date by Arkansas students and indicated the program is a positive next step toward reducing childhood obesity in Arkansas. “Reducing childhood obesity and hunger are important challenges that Arkansas faces,” First Lady Ginger Beebe said. “Fuel Up to Play 60 helps provide healthy breakfast choices for students and encourages them to exercise or play for at least 60 minutes a day. I am thankful for the opportunities that Fuel Up to Play 60 provides to the schoolchildren in our state.”

Launched by National Dairy Council and the National Football League, with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fuel Up to Play 60 has activated more than 8 million students in 70,000 schools nationwide, including more than 400,000 students in Arkansas, to be healthy, get active and make a difference. More than 900 schools across Arkansas are designated Fuel Up to Play 60 schools.

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program is a direct response to dairy farmers’ concerns that many children in Arkansas are overweight and undernourished. “As dairy farmers, we have always cared about legacy and the importance of passing on a better future to the next generation,” said dairy farmer Woody Bryant of Austin, Arkansas. “To date, the dairy community has awarded more than $80,000 in funding to Arkansas schools to help jump-start and champion school wellness efforts.”

Any school in Arkansas can enroll in the free program, thus becoming eligible to apply for funds to help increase awareness of and access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity opportunities for students. As part of Fuel Up to Play 60, schools can receive a free Quick Start Resources kit with planning tools and in-school collateral materials to help them implement healthy eating and physical fitness plans. The program, now in its second year, also encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The ultimate goal is to ensure changes made at school are sustainable and to provide children with more opportunities to be physically active and choose nutrient-rich foods. PD


—From Midwest Dairy Association news release