Students in the Papillion-La Vista School District are competing to see who can move more.
PLSD is participating in a movement challenge through a Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative.
“The idea is to get kids aware of physical activity and having some school spirit as well,” said Joe Pudenz, physical education teacher at Rumsey Station Elementary School.
The movement challenge requires students to log their activity and eating habits through a Fuel Up to Play 60 account.
The winner will be determined by averaging the number of days tracked per the number of students in the school, Pudenz said.
“The idea is not to spend a ton of time on the computer,” he said. “Track what you’ve done and go back to school.”
The challenge, which started on Nov. 29 and ends on Jan. 1, has 18 schools in the district involved. The school that logs the most movement will receive a prize package from Fuel Up to Play 60 and BEST business partners.
In tracking their physical activity and eating habits, students see the basic food groups and how much they’re supposed to have from each.
“First and second graders say, ‘I’ve had my fruits and veggies.’ and ‘This is a protein.’ They’re seeing what they’re eating,” Pudenz said. “It kind of fits our health needs as far as making kids aware of what they’re eating. It’s an easy way for kids to identify it and for physical education teachers to get them involved.”
Last year, Pudenz helped to start a Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative at Rumsey Station. With about 30 children involved, Pudenz arranged for a dairy farmer to speak with them about the process of food making its way from the farm to school. He also brought in a registered dietitian to explain the food groups.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is a national initiative launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL with additional support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The program teaches nutrition and physical activity. It encourages students to be in charge of their own health.
Fuel Up to Play 60 has six steps. The first is to get the word out that you are a Fuel Up to Play 60 school. To achieve this step at Rumsey Station, Pudenz hung up posters advertising the program.
The second step is putting together student teams.
“It’s like a student council for physical activity,” Pudenz said. “It’s giving kids a chance to have their say in what they’d like to learn about physical activity or healthy eating.”
The third step is having a kickoff. The kickoff for most schools in the district has been participating in the movement challenge.
Fourth, schools must complete a wellness investigation, Pudenz said. This gives students a sense of what the school offers in terms of lunch and physical activity.
“It gives them an idea of what we have and lets them see what they may or may not know,” Pudenz said.
The fifth step is implementing healthy eating and physical activity. One example Pudenz gave was elementary school walking clubs. They also offer many breakfast-related activities that promote healthy choices.
The final step is writing a success story.
Any student can sign up for Fuel Up to Play 60 through the website, fueluptoplay60.com.
The site is secure and requires parental permission, Pudenz said.
“It’s district-wide involvement. Students are more than welcome to sign up and join us,” he said.
Questions about signing up can be directed to school physical education teachers.
As of right now, about 720 students are enrolled in the program. Pudenz wants to have 2,000 students participating by the end of the year.
“It’s just about identifying that you need to be physically active and eating healthy,” Pudenz said.