NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Titans kicker Ryan Succop has partnered as an ambassador with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association this year. Succop, DB Curtis Riley and S Brynden Trawick visited students at Smyrna Middle School in Rutherford county to celebrate continued commitment for youth health & wellness while encouraging students to 'Fuel Up' with healthy foods so they can be active for 60 minutes a day.
Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60), the nation's largest in-school wellness program, which is a partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council (NDC), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. FUTP60 empowers students to live active and healthy lifestyles by playing or exercising for at least 60 minutes each day and fueling up with healthy foods such as low-fat and fat-free dairy.
"We are here today at Smyrna Middle School talking to the kids about eating healthy, getting the right nutrients and getting your dairy products," said Succop. "It's neat to see what FUTP60 is encouraging and the impact it can have on kids to live a healthy and happy life.
I want to get out, give back and spread the positive message to encourage kids to eat healthy, making sure they are getting the right products, the right dairy products, the right food with the nutrients they need. If I can give back and encourage students to eat the right way, I think that is good for everyone."
The NFL Play 60 campaign is designed to tackle childhood obesity by getting kids active through in school, afterschool and team-based programs. The Southeast Dairy Association and the Titans work together to help make wellness part of the game plan in Tennessee schools through the Play 60 campaign/Fuel Up to Play 60. The program encourages schools to make healthy changes in students' eating habits and physical activity.
The NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 – Tennessee Titans Hometown Grant program, focuses on priority school districts in the Tennessee Titans market. Through the Hometown Grants program, deserving schools in the communities are identified to receive funding to help facilitate sustainable physical activity and healthy eating programs for students. Since 2014, the program has provided more than 700 schools nationwide with funds and resources, resulting in more than one million students staying physically active and making healthier food choices. The NFL has committed $10,000 to Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Titans are providing Rutherford county schools the Home Town grant to improve access to healthy eating and physical activity initiates.
"Rutherford County was chosen and we worked with the coordinated school health child nutrition department to pinpoint some schools that could use a little help to kick-off FUTP60 as well as get some nutritious options they didn't already have," said Joan Benton, manager of school health and wellness with Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc.
Many schools lack the resources to execute school wellness and this is why the Southeast Dairy Association, on behalf of dairy farmer families, is proud to support schools in the fight for healthier kids with the opportunities for Fuel Up to Play 60 schools to write for grants to kick-off or enhance their wellness plan in their schools.
The funds from the Hometown Grants can be utilized by the receiving schools in many ways to optimize healthy eating and physical activity based on local needs and interests. This could range from vending machine wraps to support smart snacking, improving school breakfasts and summer feeding programs to physical activity equipment.
"The $10,000 grant is going to the schools here and will provide a lot of good nutrition to the students," said Succop. "I think that is something everyone is proud of!"
"We couldn't do it without the Titans! They come in and put on a great program and it been a great partnership with the Titans to do FUTP60," said Benton.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council, the Southeast Dairy Association and the NFL. It's all about getting students to 'Fuel Up' with nutrient-rich foods missing from their diets, like low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and to 'get-up and play' for 60 minutes a day. New research shows that better nutrition starting with breakfast, coupled with increased physical activity can lead to better academic achievement.
Whether you are a parent, educator or friend, you can have a positive influence and make a difference in a child's life by encouraging them to eat well and play for 60 minutes a day.
Titans encourage healthy lifestyle to students at Smyrna Middle School. (Photos: Lynne McCracken)