By Kimberly K. FritzFebruary 2, 2012
FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 2, 2012) -- Four noncommissioned officers from Fort Lee participated in a Jan. 25 fitness program at Matoaca Elementary School in Chesterfield County.
The family-oriented event was part of the National Dairy Council and the NFL's Fuel Up to Play 60 program that encourages youth to take action to improve their nutrition and physical activity at their schools and for their own health.
Matoaca is just one of several area schools leading the charge for change. The ultimate goal of the program is to initiate sustainable changes at the school, making it possible for children to have more opportunities to be physically active and to eat tastier options of nutrient-rich foods like low-fat and fat-free milk, fruit and whole grains and vegetables. Program organizers said young students are more likely to meet the government recommendations for daily physical activity of 60 minutes and eat the appropriate number of servings from the food groups youngsters need the most.
Instructors from the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence sat up a demonstration area in the cafeteria while instructors from the Petroleum and Water Department created an obstacle course in the gymnasium to challenge kids to be more active.
Sgt. Steve Behr, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Luis Guardao and Air Force Master Sgt. Jamie Green from the Advanced Culinary Skills course prepared low-fat chicken wraps and helped students and their parents learn how to incorporate all the recommended food groups into meals prepared at home.
Green, with her quick smile and kid-friendly attitude convinced the pickier eaters to try the wraps before discounting them. The wraps were prepared with three different flavored tortilla wraps - spinach, tomato or whole grain wheat - chicken marinated with lemon juice and chili powder, fresh spinach and tomatoes.
PWD instructor and Matoaca parent, Staff Sgt. Booker Johnson used the school's fitness equipment, paper and Army know-how to create an obstacle course for students to learn the benefits of low-crawling and proper sit-ups. Students pulled themselves along a rope for upper-body exercises and jumped rope for a cardio workout.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program leverages the excitement of the NFL to encourage students to take the lead to develop nutrition and physical activity action strategies and engage the whole student body in the program.
More than 60 percent of the nation's 96,000 private and public schools are currently enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60.
"Through this partnership, we are promoting positive healthy eating and lifestyle habits and encouraging kids to exercise up to 60 minutes a day," said Jill Waldrop, assistant principal. "We want them inside and moving and outside and moving. We have Fort Lee Soldiers doing the obstacle course; students are up and moving. We have the chefs here promoting healthy cooking and eating. It is a great start to promoting changes."
Also during the evening, parents learned how to stretch their dollars at the grocery store.
Former NFL Linebacker Matt Farrior joined the student body for a pep-rally prior to the evening event and was on hand to support the program.
For more information about Fuel Up to Play 60, visit www.FuelUptoPlay60.com