FAIRFIELD – New England Patriot’s mascot Pat Patriot was in Fairfield Center School on Friday to celebrate six years of efforts to increase physical activity and healthy eating amongst students.

The mascot’s visit was sponsored by Fuel Up to Play 60, a joint initiative of the National Football League and the National Dairy Council to increase student activity.

The school assembly also included yoga, Wii sports and a relay.

Bet Howrigan serves as Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor. She is both a dairy farmer and a fourth grade teacher in Fairfield.

“Everyone has a role to play in emphasizing the importance of daily physical activity and good nutrition,” said Howrigan.

Fairfield Center School has long operated its own maple-sugaring program. The assembly included freshly made maple milkshakes.

Since the inception of Fuel Up to Play 60 at the school six years ago, students have been physically active three mornings per week, added classroom physical activity breaks, and introduced both a Grab ‘N’ Go breakfast program and an oatmeal bar to increase student access to and interest in school breakfast.

“Breakfast and lunch programs offered in schools provide well-rounded, nutrient-rich meals for students,” Ally Gallop of the New England Dairy Promotion Board said in a written statement. Those meals include low-fat dairy products, which are part of the federal dietary guidelines.

“More than 60-percent of kids aged 4-18 years nationwide don’t consume the recommended daily amounts of dairy,” said Jill Hussels, RD, LDN, Nutrition Specialist for New England Dairy & Food Council. “Bones are being built at a steady rate throughout childhood, with a sharp increase around puberty. Dairy provides the nutrients needed to promote strong bone growth that will have a lifelong impact on a child’s health.”

For more photos of Fairfield kids having fun see Monday’s Messenger.