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Power Up

What is Power Panther Pals?

What is Power Up?

Power Panther and Wellness Policies
How does Power Up fit into my school’s wellness policy?
Why kids need Power Panther Pals
Why do Kansas kids need Power Up?
Who can participate?
Who can participate?
Download current materials
Download current materials.


What is Power Up!?

Power Up is an 8-week health education program for middle school students in grades 6-8. This program is designed to equip students with the knowledge to make healthier choices by encouraging consumption of healthy foods, supporting regular physical activity, teaching students to make their own healthy snacks, and building healthy self-esteem.

Power Up was developed in 2009 and utilizes the message EAT SMART. PLAY HARD. ENERGIZE YOURSELF. to encourage students to choose healthy foods, get regular physical activity, prepare their own healthy snacks, and build healthy self-esteem. Students are also encouraged to become involved in the planning and implementation of wellness initiatives in their own school.

Kansas Team Nutrition is not currently offering sub-grant funds and materials for Power Up, however, program materials may still be downloaded from the link below and used at any time!

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How does Power Up! fit into my school’s wellness policy?

Power Up is designed to address multiple areas of the Kansas School Wellness Policy Model Guidelines.  Participating students receive 8 hours of health education with topics that include:

  • Food groups
  • Importance of eating a variety of foods
  • Serving sizes
  • Relationship of food intake (energy input) and physical activity (energy output)
  • Nutrition Facts Label reading
  • Choosing healthful foods using cafeteria meals, vended items and a la carte items as examples
  • Basic food preparation skills.

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Why do Kansas' kids need Power Up!?

The incidence of obesity among children has been rapidly increasing in the United States.  The percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled since 1980, and that percentage has more than tripled among adolescents.  Although children have fewer weight-related health problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults.  Overweight and obese adults are at risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer.  In addition to the physical health problems, overweight and obese students are also at risk of developing low self-esteem and self-blame as students must live in a society that continues to stigmatize this condition.  These psychological conditions may manifest themselves as impairments in students’ academic success or social functioning.

It can be difficult to appreciate just how significant overweight and obesity can be in children, especially since many weight-related health problems do not develop in childhood; however, there are a number of nutrition-related factors that can have a considerable impact in the classroom.  Studies have shown that “poor dietary choices, inadequate nutrient intake, and morning fasting have been linked to lower motivation and attentiveness in school, as well as lower academic performance.” 

Academic achievement and student health are directly connected.  Studies have found a link between physical activity, nutrition and improvements in test scores for students: “…research evidence has concluded that physical activity and nutrition significantly affect student achievement.”  Power Up provides an opportunity for educators to address both improved nutrition and physical activity habits to ensure that Kansas' students have every opportunity to achieve optimal health and academic success. 

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Who can participate?

The program can be implemented in regular classrooms, after-school programs, or in a specific subject-matter class (such as PE, FACS, Science etc.) in a middle school setting where students move from class to class throughout the day.  Applicants must be located in the state of Kansas and must participate in at least one of the USDA's Child Nutrition programs, which include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the Special Milk Program. Participating students must be enrolled in 6th, 7th or 8th grade.  

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Download Power Up Materials

This link accesses theOpens in new window 2014-15 Power Up Implementation Manual.

This link accesses the Opens in new window2014-15 Power Up Student Activity Book.


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