The nation’s leading in-school youth wellness program inspires students to make positive changes in their lives and community
Wholesome nutrition and increased physical activity are two things necessary for students to be the best version of themselves. When combined, students are more likely to perform well in and out of school. The proof is in the program – the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) program, that is.
Launched in 2009, the FUTP 60 program was developed to encourage students to make healthy choices through consumption of nutrient-rich foods like dairy and completion of at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Today, the program boasts 14 million students making healthier eating decisions, 18 million students with more physical activity, and 130,000 adults enrolled to advise students in leading the program. In the Dairy MAX territory of Colorado, southwest Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming, there are 8 million students involved in FUTP 60.
With 2019 marking the ten-year anniversary of Fuel Up to Play 60, the success stories still abound.
Lindsay Yost, program advisor at Fort Lupton Middle School in Fort Lupton, Colorado, said that due to the FUTP 60 program, students in her school are “evidence that active students learn better.”
Beyond the increase in physical activity, Yost noted that milk consumption has grown through the promotion of the FUTP 60 program. She said that students understand the importance of drinking milk at breakfast and lunch and are reaching for it at mealtime.
McKinzie Conley, a student ambassador at Fort Lupton Middle School, said that she focuses on getting five servings of dairy daily, while also being conscious of MyPlate portion sizes. Conley incorporates dairy into her diet because she knows dairy foods provide vitamins and minerals that promote essential bone and body growth. Further, Conley believes that dairy products make her bones stronger, allowing for more physical activity – something that was made important to her through FUTP 60 program education.
Through the FUTP 60 program students really are being fueled for greatness. Increased physical activity and better nutrition have been coupled with leadership opportunities for students, inspiring them to impact change in their schools and surrounding communities.
“Since the introduction of this program, I’ve seen students speak passionately about the benefits of eating healthy and being active. I’ve seen them lead their fellow students in group activities, including teaching them how to be healthy,” Villarreal said.
According to Villarreal, those leadership skills are perpetual. Students do not just step up under her advising as their teacher but continue to successfully serve their schools as leaders “both on and off the field, thanks to their involvement in this great program.”
Jimena Tinoco, FUTP 60 Youth Council member, attributes her strong leadership skills and self-confidence to involvement in the FUTP 60 program. Tinoco started a new project, the Shared Table, at her school. Because of her vision and follow-through, students in Tinoco’s school have more access to healthy foods through nutritious snacks offered throughout the day. The snacks, which include unopened milks or uneaten whole fruits, are collected by students after breakfast and lunch and added to the Shared Table for other students to take, thus reducing food waste.
Tinoco is thankful for FUTP 60, as she believes it has given new meaning to her future. Most important to her, the FUTP 60 program has shown Tinoco that when combining her own abilities with diligent work, her ideas for positive change in the community will come to fruition. And that, is fueling greatness.