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Taylor County High School students got to have fun as they learned about the importance of eating healthier and staying physically active at the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant kickoff on April 24.
Founded by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, the grant program aims to help young people make healthy choices to ensure proper nutrition and prevent obesity.
Deana Shewmaker, family and consumer sciences teacher, Clint Graham, strength and conditioning coach, and Kathy Phelps, director of food services, have led the implementation of Fuel Up to Play 60 activities at TCHS.
"I purchased items that will allow me to process and freeze fresh produce to use in classes and catering events," Shewmaker said.
The school was also able to purchase new weight equipment for its fitness room with the grant, as well as door prizes for students who participated in the rally.
Local dairy producer Jeff Deener, president of the American Dairy Association of Kentucky, said dairy farmers across the country invest 15 cents for every 100 pounds of milk they sell to fund the national "dairy checkoff" program.
The money is used to fund programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 and several advertising campaigns to encourage Americans to consume three servings of low-fat dairy per day, as recommended by the USDA. And sending the message to young people is a top priority.
"Sixty percent of school kids don't eat breakfast," Deener said.
During the rally, students could compete for prizes in an obstacle course set up in the gym, sample breakfast burritos and homemade blueberry bars in the cafeteria, and taste test strawberry and tropical flavored smoothies.
Informational displays were also set up to educate students about the sugar content of their favorite drinks and how much fat was in their favorite fast food meals.
"They are starting to see what they put into their bodies," Shewmaker said. "I heard several times, 'A Mountain Dew has that much sugar? I drink five of those a day.'"
Shewmaker said response from students has been very positive. She said with the assistance of the program, students are gaining awareness about the importance of making healthier choices.
"Yes, they still want the french fries every now and then, but throw in some stir fry with chicken and vegetables," Shewmaker said.