September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
The It Starts With Breakfast campaign is part of Fuel Up to Play 60, an educational program that encourages schoolchildren to eat healthy and stay active. Fuel Up to Play 60 is sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League.
Gregg Ode, a Brandon dairy farmer and a member of the Brandon Valley School Board, spoke to the assembly. Ode advised the children to make sure that dairy products are a part of their daily diet, especially at breakfast.
"Our family's dairy farm will be holding an Open House on June 14 and we invite all of you to attend," said Ode. "We want you to come out to our farm and see where your milk and other dairy products come from."
Gerry Klein, Key Accounts Manager at Dean Foods in Sioux Falls was called upon to make a few remarks.
"Up to 60 percent of all kids don't eat a healthy breakfast," said Klein. "We think that the It Starts With Breakfast program is a step in the right direction."
Dean Foods, the nation's largest processor of fluid milk, is supporting the It Starts With Breakfast initiative by contributing $100,000 in grant money to the national Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schoop was on hand to deliver a few comments to the gathering.
"You need to kick start your day with a good breakfast," said Schoop. "Breakfast is important for feeding your brain. Studies have shown that kids who eat a healthy breakfast do better in school. They are better at math and participate more in the classroom."
Keynote speaker for the event was Ben Leber, a former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings.
Leber was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa and grew up in Vermillion, S. D. After graduating from Vermillion High School, Leber attended Kansas State University where he was named All-Big 12 Conference first-team choice. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and was signed by the Vikings in 2006.
After a successful career in the NFL, Leber retired from professional football in 2012. He is currently a color commentator for Fox Sports Conference USA. Leber lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Abby, and their two children.
"They asked me when I was playing for the Vikings if I would be part of the Fuel Up for 60 program and I said absolutely. I didn't even have to think about it," said Leber. "I think there's a national need for this program. It was easy to jump aboard."
Leber spoke to the schoolchildren about the importance of sound nutrition and getting enough exercise.
"Many kids these days have cell phones and other electronic devices," he said. "Those devices can be good. But they can also have a downside, especially when kids pay too much attention to them and don't exercise enough. We've lost this idea of kids being kids."
Leber encouraged the children to exercise at least 60 minutes each day.
"It doesn't have to be all at once," he said. "You can break it up into smaller pieces. I know that exercising in the wintertime can be tough. When I was a kid, we went out to the garage and jumped rope. We would invent games and hold rope jumping contests. There are ways to stay active even when it's cold outside."
Good nutrition is a key element to staying healthy, said Leber.
"As athletes, staying healthy by eating right and exercising was always at the front of our minds. A good breakfast is the best way to kick start your brain's metabolism. Dairy is a very important part of a good breakfast. If you don't like milk, you should have yogurt or cottage cheese or cheese sticks."
Addressing the parents, Leber said, "I know from firsthand experience that breakfast time can be hectic. But parents are the foundation for their kids and parents need to set a good example. This means having a good breakfast every day, a breakfast that includes healthy dairy and healthy whole grains. And we should try to cut back on refined sugar whenever we can."
Recalling his childhood, Leber said, "My mom is Korean, and Korean moms are a lot like Italian moms. If two people are coming over, they make enough food for 20. Mom always made sure that we started our days with a hearty breakfast."
Spending a decade in the unforgiving crucible of the NFL gridiron taught Leber the importance of sound nutrition for maintaining a healthy mind and body.
"I am speaking from experience," he said. "And I practice what I preach."
Following his talk, Leber was quickly surrounded by a crowd of autograph-seeking school kids. He signed autographs and chatted with the youngsters until every child had his or her turn.
National Dairy Council® (NDC), the non-profit organization funded by the national dairy checkoff program, is committed to nutrition education and research-based communications. NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media.
You can learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 at: www.fueluptoplay60.com or at: www.NationalDairyCouncil.org.[[In-content Ad]]
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