What’s Up with the Fuel Up to Play 60 Craze?

February 19, 2015

If you’re a parent with a kid in school, you’ve probably already heard of “Fuel Up to Play 60 even if you’re not sure what it actually means. So let’s discuss some of the real questions you have about the program, such as:

  • Is it just another publicity stunt?
  • How does it work?
  • What are parents expected to do?

First Things First: Is This Just Another Publicity Stunt?

Unfortunately, many educational movements turn out to be just another means to an end for politicians and corporations. No Child Left Behind and other educational reform programs have ultimately succeeded only in getting politicians elected and giving corporations more money.

At first glance, Fuel Up to Play 60 has the ingredients to make another disappointing reform program: the faces of the program are predominantly Michelle Obama and the NFL. Government organizations like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are involved as well as private non-profit organizations like the National Dairy Council (NDC).

However, many of the program’s policies are well-founded in issues that stretch beyond the basic educational system into fundamental American issues such as:

  • The obesity epidemic
  • An increase in Type 2 Diabetes
  • Our culture’s general lack of emphasis on physical activity

In addition, the program’s general goal is to encourage healthier lifestyles in today’s youth. Unlike other educational reform programs that depend on hard-and-fast results or profits, Fuel Up to Play 60 considers their program a success when students, teachers, families, and communities make health a higher priority in their day-to-day lives.

How does it work?

Fuel Up to Play 60 doesn’t support just one group of adults and expects them to succeed on their own. Instead, they give students, educators, families, and communities the tools they need to organize a health reform movement in their schools. As the program’s name suggests, these tools are broken into two main categories: fuel and play.

What’s the Fuel?

Good nutrition gives us the energy we need to be active and healthy every day. Fuel Up to Play 60 has guides and other resources for students, teachers, and parents on how to eat healthily. However, most of the parent food guides are driven by the NDC’s input and therefore are dairy-centric. Check out these healthy eating guides on the website’s educator platform, which are much more inclusive.

What’s the Play?

Play does not mean just any physical activity, but fun physical activities. Fuel Up to Play 60 strives for kids, teachers, and families to enjoy staying active for at least 60 minutes a day. They’re taking the work out of workouts to make a healthy lifestyle seem like a natural, fun part of everyday life. Their playbook may be a little heavy-handed towards the NFL, but many of their activities are easily accomplished by any child regardless of their love for football.

What am I expected to do?

Family fitness is a great way to bond with your kids and bring your family closer together in a safe and healthy way. Parents can help their kid’s schools successfully complete Play 60 challenges by participating themselves.

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