March 4 2015 08:59 AM

"Fuel Greatness" campaign stresses breakfast for children

Fuel Up to Play 60 logoBreakfast sets the table for the day's activities. Starting the day with a meal is the fuel that helps us stay active. Studies have shown that improved nutrition, which includes breakfast, and more physical activity improve students' academic performance, attentiveness and behavior. Feed the body . . . Feed the mind.

During National School Breakfast Week, March 2 to 5, the Midwest Dairy Council, Fuel Up to Play 60 and additional nutrition organizations are working together to educate young people and school leaders about the value of breakfast. They have an uphill battle as 60 percent of students do not eat breakfast daily. No Kid Hungry's annual "Hunger in Our Schools" report identified that 76 percent of educators say students come to school hungry.

This week, students at elementary, middle and high school schools in the Midwest are getting special visitors. They include current NFL players Roy Helu, Jr. of the Washington Redskins and Roberto Garza of the Chicago Bears. Other special guests include entertainment like the Lakota Dancers and drum circle, city officials, school administrators, state educational department representatives, as well as dairy farmers.

For example, one Nebraska elementary school started their day in high gear. They had team exercises with former Nebraska Cornhusker and current running back for the Redskins, Helu. It was followed with him talking to students as they waited in the Grab-and-Go breakfast line. Helu then took the time to talk with students in their classroom about the importance of breakfast, which includes dairy.

The event also hopes to inform schools about ways they can offer convenient breakfast options, like Grab-and-Go foods, Second Chance Breakfasts (served late morning), and breakfast in the classroom.

Fuel Up to Play 60 plays a key role in helping schools improve or expand their breakfast programs. To make options affordable, schools can apply for funds that can be used to purchase items such as coolers, carts, insulated bags or Grab-and-Go kiosks to encourage consumption.
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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.