Twelve schools in the New Orleans area were recognized with the Gold Award of Distinction in the HealthierUS School Challenge and the Saintsations were there to cheer them on, along with New Orleans Saints corporate partner, S.U.D.I.A. (Southeast United Dairy Industry Association).
The event was held at Mahalia Jackson Elementary School where the Saintsations and a New Orleans brass band entertained the students and faculty. The ceremony was highlighted by Mahalia Jackson first-graders teaching the audience about the importance of eating vegetables and an appearance by the USDA's mascot, Power Panther.
The USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services based in Washington, D.C. presented the 12 schools with Gold Award of Distinction plaques and medals, recognizing them for superior achievement in providing student nutrition and physical activity.
S.U.D.I.A. supports the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative in the New Orleans area – an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to fight childhood obesity.
Fuel Up to Play 60 helps students make positive changes in their schools by improving opportunities to consume nutrient-rich foods and get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The ultimate goal is to ensure changes made at school are sustainable and complements – not competes with – an academics-focused environment.