As you watched National Football League games this past season, you probably saw the commercials promoting Play 60. That's the NFL's initiative to promote 60 minutes of activity every day for youngsters. Through our check-off dollars and National Dairy Council, those of us in the dairy industry are part of a related campaign Fuel Up To Play 60.

The program gained momentum when it was endorsed by USDA during a ceremony last month at Central Park East Middle School in New York City. The campaign brings together the NFL, National Dairy Council, multiple health organizations, and several major corporations, including Kraft Foods, Domino's Pizza, Leprino, and LaLa. All 32 NFL teams are participating in the program through local dairy councils and schools in their respective markets.

The signing ceremony involved Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, as well as Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, and Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc., who are shown here.

NFL players present included Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars; and Kevin Boss, New York Giants. Dairy farmers present included Zach Meyers, North Carolina; Skip Hardie, New York; and Paula Meabon, Pennsylvania.

As dairy farmers, we have committed $50 million per year to the campaign for five years. Funding is expected to grow as government, business, communities, and families join this effort to improve nutrient-rich food choices and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity each day among children. More than 58,000, or 60 percent, of the nation's 96,000 private and public schools are currently enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60.

Goal of the campaign is to fight and defeat childhood obesity. Based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the program empowers students in grades 4 through 10 to engage their peers to "fuel up" with nutrient-rich foods they often lack – particularly low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – and "get up and play" with 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Link to the Fuel up to Play 60 Website!