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Health & Wellness Watch: Fuel Up to Play 60 helps maintain dairy’s place in schools

Published on 22 August 2014

A nutritious diet including dairy is just one part of the equation to assure healthy schoolchildren across the country.

Students also need 60 minutes of physical activity each day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This nutrition-exercise combination is the cornerstone of the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) program founded by America’s dairy farmers in partnership with the NFL and supported by the USDA.

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FUTP 60 is the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness program, with more than 73,000 schools enrolled. Because of FUTP 60, 14 million kids are reaching for better foods (including dairy) and 14 million are getting more physical activity in schools.

A new FUTP 60 campaign called “For the Love of Play” will launch this fall to remind students – and the adults who care about them – about the importance of getting active for at least 60 minutes each day.

Checkoff partners including Quaker, Let’s Move Active Schools (LMAS) and the NFL are teaming with FUTP 60 for the campaign that runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 17.

“Schools embrace Fuel Up to Play 60 as a total package program because of its dual emphasis on nutrition and exercise,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chair of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff. “We’re helping to protect dairy’s freedom to operate in schools because they believe in the benefits of the programs we provide that lead to healthier students.”

Health and wellness is one of five priority areas of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, an organization founded by dairy farmers more than five years ago. The Innovation Center helps the entire industry find solutions to issues – including those related to child health and wellness – that are too large for one company or industry segment to take on.

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Innovation Center-led efforts are helping meet FUTP 60 goals, such as increasing school breakfast participation. In 2013, the Innovation Center hosted an innovation lab to develop nutritious, kid-friendly breakfast concepts using dairy foods. Food, nutrition and culinary experts collaborated on menu concepts that are available to schools and other outlets. PD

candace mueller-medina


Partner spotlight

Candace Mueller-Medina

Senior Director Communications, Quaker Oats Co.

How does the partnership with dairy farmers align with Quaker’s goals and mission?

MUELLER-MEDINA: Quaker and the dairy industry have shared values that resonate with families, including a commitment to nutrition and health. As an iconic and trusted brand, Quaker has been nourishing families for more than 135 years through the power of the oat.

Together, we can inspire, educate and motivate families to live healthier and be a catalyst for change at home, in schools and in communities. Additionally, Quaker’s partnership with the National Dairy Council further underscores dairy as a core part of parent company PepsiCo’s overarching nutrition strategy.

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What have been some ‘wins’ for Quaker as a result of this partnership?

MUELLER-MEDINA: We’ve had several key wins across the areas of innovation, retail and communications – all to help drive dairy and whole grain oat consumption for healthier lives.

In terms of innovation, we launched new Quaker Protein Breakfast Shakes, Instant Oatmeal and Baked Bars (all made with dairy protein) plus Warm & Crunchy Granola, a first-of-its-kind hot cereal that combines our wholesome Quaker Oatmeal with a crunchy multigrain granola. To prepare this product, simply add milk and heat in the microwave.

In addition, our joint Make it with Milk campaign at a number of leading grocers led to sales lifts for fluid milk and Quaker products. We extended this campaign through print and TV to bring the message of making oatmeal with milk instead of water to millions of consumers.

We also created an educational brochure for healthcare professionals and dietitians to drive home the benefits of oats and dairy, a truly powerful combination. From oatmeal made with milk to a yogurt and granola parfait, pairing oats with dairy foods helps fill food and nutrition gaps, bridge breakfast barriers and make good nutrition simple.

How important is it to Quaker to be involved in Fuel Up to Play 60? What are Quaker’s goals/aspirations with this program?

MUELLER-MEDINA: Quaker believes in the positive impact that physical activity and nourishment have on students’ education, or what the GenYouth Foundation identified as the Learning Connection.

We think we are positioned to play an important role in nourishing families and providing inspiration and motivation to make healthy change possible, and that’s where Fuel Up to Play 60 comes in. Quaker has supported Fuel Up to Play 60 through programs like last year’s Make Your Move Campaign, where schools could earn grant dollars.

We also hosted the first GenYouth town hall meeting in Chicago to convene businesses, thought leaders and educators to understand how we can improve school wellness in our backyards.

Most recently, we supported GenYouth’s 2014 Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit in Dallas, where we announced our commitment to further the health and wellness of the Latino community through a grant from the PepsiCo Foundation; $550,000 will fund Fuel Up to Play 60 en Español, an initiative that will eliminate language barriers for the more than 50 percent of Fuel Up to Play 60 schools that serve a high population of Latino students.

What Quaker checkoff programs can dairy farmers look forward to?

MUELLER-MEDINA: We’re excited about continuing our partnership with the National Dairy Council and beginning a new partnership with MilkPEP that seeks to help families understand the value and benefit of starting their day with oatmeal made with low-fat or fat-free milk. Stay tuned! PD

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – The following update is provided by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was established under the leadership of dairy producers to align the collective resources of the industry against common priorities. The Innovation Center is staffed by Dairy Management Inc™.

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