Grant supports physical fitness as tool for improved academics
When Principal Patrick Smith arrived at Basswood Elementary two years ago, he brought with him a passion not only for academic fitness but physical fitness as well. Because of this passion, Smith wanted to implement a program that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. During the last two years, Basswood has received three grants worth approximately $10,000 from Fuel Up to Play 60 and GENYOUth Foundation to support these goals.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school program encouraging the availability and consumption of nutrient-rich foods, along with at least 60minutes of daily physical activity. The National Dairy Council and NFL founded the program, in collaboration with the USDA. Currently, more than 70,000 schools participate.
The program cites research that suggests regular access to better nutrition – starting with breakfast – coupled with increased opportunities for physical activity, may help students perform better academically. Smith says he has seen this personally throughout his own career in education.
“Good nutrition along with physical activity helps children to be successful in life and it has a huge impact on learning,” said Smith. “We have a building of 1,100 students and I want them all to be healthy and knowledgeable. This program helps give them tools and skills they can use for a lifetime.”
Smith was recently selected as one of 18 advisors across the Midwest, to be a part of the Midwest Dairy Program Advisory Council. They provide leadership and feedback on how Fuel Up to Play 60 is working in their respective buildings.
Last year, Basswood created a student team as part of the program. This year, the team has grown from 20 to more than 40 students. They meet monthly to plan and organize school wide challenges to inspire students and staff to make healthy nutrition choices and participate in physical activity.
Currently, the monthly challenge is to encourage students to sign up on the Fuel Up to Play 60’s website to log their activity andnutrition. They have gone from 20 to 100 students participating online. There are five students who have earned School Ambassador designation. Student Josh Miller was selected as a Fuel Up to Play 60 State Ambassador for helping tocreate Motivational Mondays and secure a grant through GENYOUth Foundation to implement it at Basswood.
Motivational Mondays is a program where activity stations are set up at recess to encourage physical activity. Playground packs of equipment were purchased through the GENYOUth grant in order to supply each grade with enough equipment to come up with a variety of games for the stations. With additional grant funding from Fuel Up to Play 60, the student team is planning to create an information station to help promote the program as well as healthy eating and physical activity choices.
Including Basswood Elementary, seven Osseo Area Schools participate in Fuel Up to Play 60. They include Elm Creek Elementary, Rice Lake Elementary, Edinbrook Elementary, Palmer Lake Elementary, Park Brook Elementary and Osseo Junior.
Finding Balance Fast Facts:
The link between nutrition, physical activity and academic success.
Findings from the Wellness Impact report released by the GENYOUth Foundation, National Dairy Council, American College of Sports Medicine and the American Health Association suggest:
• More than half (62%) of all teens say they do not eat breakfast every day of the week.
• Breakfast eaters have better attention and memory than breakfast skippers.
• Three-in-four high school students aren’t active for the recommended 60 minutes each day.
• Students who were more active during school performed better on standardized tests for reading, math and spelling.