On Wednesday, Sept. 18, the near 2,000 students at John Ehret High School in Marrero attended a healthy lifestyle pep rally around lunch time.
Greeted by the sound of the school's band and the baton twirling of the majorette squad, the students gathered around the courtyard to join in the celebration.
Founded by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL), Fuel Up to Play 60 devised a plan to battle childhood obesity. Its plan included playing 60 minutes a day or getting 60 minutes of exercise, while maintaining a healthy diet consisting of foods that are high in nutrients like fresh fruits, vegetables, low and non-fat dairy products, and whole grains.
Terry Charles, the School Nutrition Manager at The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA), said that this program is a great way to get students interested in their health.
"Fuel Up to Play 60 has been around for about three or four years now," Charles said. "We try to get kids to take action for their own health and for their lives."
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program's goal is to aid youth in taking action for their health and develop life-long healthy eating and daily physical activity habits. The program aims at schools to help implement these changes. Schools reach youth directly each day and can also inspire others to instill these changes with their friends, too.
Saints Team Ambassador Michael Lewis and mascot Gumbo appeared at the event and Lewis shared his views about the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
"You guys are getting everything you need here: education, nutrition, everything," Lewis said. "These programs weren't around for me when I was in school. Getting the things you need will end up being of the utmost importance."
Lewis and Gumbo presented John Ehret High School with a grant of $3,900 which will go toward different initiatives that the school will host and plan for their students each month. It will also help the school build a walking path for students to use for daily exercise routines.
Tracy Parker, the nurse practitioner at John Ehret, said that the Wellness Club will plan monthly events in order to educate the campus on healthy lifestyles. The group also plans to initiate a grab-and-go breakfast option to encourage students to eat breakfast as it is a vital part of having a healthy diet.
"So many of our students have high anemia, vitamin D deficiency, and poor diets," Parker said. "Hopefully, this will transform health and wellness on the campus."
Parker also said that students aren't eating at school, which concerns her. By implementing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch plans, she hopes to jump start to a healthy campus.