Atlanta Falcons Teaming Up To Improve Children’s Health, Wellness And Nutrition

December 2, 2014

ATLANTA - (Dec. 2, 2014) - The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Georgia SHAPE, and the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc. (SUDIA), are working together to nurture children’s health and wellness in the school environment and community by expanding the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) program in Georgia schools. The partnership is made possible thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation (AFYF). 

FUTP60 encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat or fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. SUDIA will work with DPH to bring FUTP60 to Georgia schools already enrolled in Power Up for 30, Georgia SHAPE’s initiative which encourages schools to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into each school day. So far, more than 400 Georgia schools are signed up to participate in Power Up for 30.

Through the partnership, qualifying schools will be able to apply for individual grants of up to $4,000 that can be used to start or expand school breakfast programs, establish ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast stations, and create or enhance programs that encourage children to be physically active and eat healthier foods. SUDIA will administer the grants and provide technical assistance to applicants.

“Research shows a positive relationship between physical activity and academic achievement,” said Emily Anne Vall, PhD, Georgia SHAPE program manager. “By providing creative low to no-cost initiatives such as Power Up for 30 and Fuel Up to Play 60, we are helping educators provide students with the tools necessary to excel in and out of the classroom. Having the Falcons’ support not only allows us to produce meaningful change in Georgia’s schools, it also motivates students to get moving like their NFL heroes.”

The AFYF also awarded Georgia Shape and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta $36,000 to expand the Strong4Life School Nutrition Program to 600 schools across Georgia.

The Strong4Life School Nutrition program works to impact change through offering school nutrition staff training and ongoing technical support to foster a healthy cafeteria environment.  Through this program, cafeteria managers use basic marketing principles to encourage kids to make positive choices regarding the foods they eat, instilling in them the behaviors that will help them lead healthier lives. Subtle changes in the cafeteria have been proven to increase healthy choices and behaviors. By training cafeteria staff to be change agents, students can begin to change their attitudes about food, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and are often willing to try new healthy foods.

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About the Georgia Department of Public Health
The Georgia Department of Public Health is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective. In 2011, the General Assembly restored DPH to its own state agency after more than 30 years of consolidation with other departments. At the state level, DPH functions through numerous divisions, sections, programs and offices. Locally, DPH funds and collaborates with Georgia's 159 county health departments and 18 public health districts. Through the changes, the mission has remained constant – to protect the lives of all Georgians. Today, DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory. For more information about DPH, visit www.dph.ga.gov.

About Georgia SHAPE
Georgia SHAPE is a statewide multiagency, multidimensional initiative of Governor Nathan Deal that brings together the government, philanthropic, academic and business communities to address childhood obesity in Georgia. For more information about Georgia SHAPE, visit www.georgiashape.org.

About the Southeast Dairy Association
Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc. (SUDIA) works with schools, health professionals, farmers and the public to provide information about dairy farming, research, recipes and nutrition and to promote a healthy lifestyle that includes three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt every day. For more information, visit www.southeastdairy.org.

About Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation
AFYF was established in 1985 to serve as the philanthropic arm of the Atlanta Falcons. Since Arthur Blank acquired the Atlanta Falcons in 2002, AFYF has operated as an affiliated fund of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and grown to be the largest owner-funded foundation in the National Football League, providing more than $20 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the state of Georgia. Find out more at AFYF.org.