Reporting John Lauritsen
COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — The best way to fight childhood obesity is by eating right and exercising.
Nobody knows that better than the students at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids. They are taking part in the NFL’s “Fuel Up to Play 60″ campaign.
“You can have pancakes, cereal, anything that gets you awake in the morning,” said Eighth Grader Wayne Doe.
Northdale applied for a “Fuel Up” grant a couple years ago. It gives the school $4,000 to provide students with a healthy breakfast at school, along with a variety of exercise options.
“That is something we would never be able to do without this money. Buying exercise equipment and balance balls, we would never be able to do,” said Assistant Principal Julie Klund-Schubert.
On Wednesday, 400 students went through the breakfast line. In fact, 20 percent of sixth through eighth graders at the school now eat breakfast compared to just eight percent at other schools in the district.
The breakfast options at Northdale are wide-ranging and USDA approved. Students are even encouraged to eat breakfast in class because it cuts down on binging throughout the day.
“It’s actually helped me because I thought I would gain weight from eating breakfast in the morning, but it has actually helped me lose weight,” said Eighth Grader Gina McCoy.
Students said they are losing weight in a healthy way, but gaining with their grades.
“Before I wasn’t much of an eater. So before when I came to class I was tired in the morning. But ever since I started eating breakfast I was more awake and more able to pay attention in class,” said Doe.
There is even a healthy kids group that meets up after school. It’s a message that these students want to pass along to other schools.
“Eat healthy, get active and have fun. That’s the message,” said Seventh Grader Isabel Buganski.
Midwest Dairy has teamed up with the Minnesota Vikings to help them “Fuel Up To Play 60.”
School leaders said the goal is to hopefully one day get all 1,250 kids at Northdale Middle School to eat breakfast.