Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County will kick-off the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Detroit Zoo. The county's Health Division in partnership with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan will train staff from more than 45 schools in 20 school districts on how to implement the national wellness program for kids. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced that Fuel Up To Play 60 was the next step in his efforts to fight child obesity in his 20th State of the County address earlier this month.
"What excites me most about this program is it energizes youth to take action for their health similar to Count Your Steps," Patterson said in his annual speech. "Activities are youth led and are school tested. The program is easily customizable and non-prescriptive - you choose what works for your school and to which degree you are involved. "
Count Your Steps was Patterson's initiative to fight child obesity. Each year, thousands of Oakland County third and fourth?graders received a pedometer for one month in the spring to count their steps. Competing school against school for prizes, students walked as much as possible while gaining additional points for eating fruits and vegetables. From its inception in 2004, more than 200,000 kids took 18 billion steps or 341 times around the earth.
Patterson is transitioning his efforts to fight child obesity from Count Your Steps to Fuel Up To Play 60. Oakland County will be the first local government in Michigan to implement the program which was founded by the National Dairy Council and National Football League in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Patterson's goal is to have every school in Oakland County actively involved in Fuel Up to Play 60. The Health Division, Healthy Oakland Partnership (HOP), and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan will lead this effort and provide assistance to schools. The Detroit Zoo is also supporting this initiative.
"In the coming months, Oakland County Health Division and a team of community partners will target about 93,000 elementary school students in K-5 with our new efforts. Our experts will provide schools with hands-on technical assistance, training and one-on-one support to start or expand existing Fuel Up To Play 60 efforts," Patterson said.
Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to eat healthy foods and be more active. Activities may be customized to any school's goals. Strategies are grounded in evidence-based research or best practices and are fully supported by organizations such as American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, and National Medical Association.
Fuel Up To Play 60 also provides funding for any qualifying K-12 school enrolled in the program. Schools may apply to receive up to $4,000 a year. Schools must choose one eligible Healthy Eating Play and one eligible Physical Activity Play to apply for funds. Fuel Up To Play 60 has awarded over $13 million to schools nationwide since the 2010-11 school year.
Any Oakland County school that wants to sign-up for Fuel Up To Play 60 may contact Trisha Zizumbo of the Oakland County Health Division at 248-452-9174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Fuel Up To Play 60, visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY: Contact Bill Mullan, media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.