Youth-Focused Initiatives Key to Increasing Dairy Consumption

Apr 11, 2018
a group of Fuel Up to Play 60 students

Can you imagine a future where the next generation of leaders have a positive affiliation with modern dairy farming and are advocates for dairy’s role in a healthy lifestyle? Through GENYOUth, Dairy MAX is working with school youth to educate, empower and nurture healthy, high-achieving champions for dairy in their communities.

Established in 2011, GENYOUth helps advance lasting health and wellness changes and positively influence our nation’s youth towards dairy. In partnership with schools, communities and corporate sponsors, GENYOUth supports programs such as AdVenture Capital and the largest in-school wellness program, Fuel Up to Play 60.

“GENYOUth is all about building healthy relationships around physical activity and dairy early in life,” says Alyson Kirchner, Vice President of School Sales, Marketing and Operations. “It encourages youth to be leaders in their communities and act as change-agents for the future they want to see. Beyond the advocacy, these youth generate insight and discussion and provide invaluable feedback to how the next generation of consumers think.”

At its core, GENYOUth advances youth wellness and healthy living through promoting an active lifestyle and healthy dairy choices. It also empowers student-led initiatives in nutrition and physical activity through programs such as AdVenture Capital and Fuel Up to Play 60 NFL FLAG in Schools. GENYOUth’s best attribute is aligning participants with diverse backgrounds to focus on a common goal: youth health and wellness, and inspiring youth to be leaders in communities and encourage their peers to follow their lead.

The primary purpose of GENYOUth is to fund Fuel Up to Play 60, the largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program in the country, including over 510,000 students in the Dairy MAX region. In partnership with the National Dairy Council and NFL, GENYOUth helps schools meet wellness goals, promotes at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, and encourages the consumption of fat-free and low-fat dairy foods as part of a balanced diet in alignment with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Beyond improving physical activity, healthy eating habits and leadership, GENYOUth gathers insights on students. Through partnering with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, a first-of-its-kind survey, perceptions of the millions of students involved in GENYOUth were collected. The survey helps dairy farmers and professionals better understand the students’ perspective of health and wellness and how to meet the needs, desires and trends of youth, empowering them towards healthy, high-achieving futures.

The inaugural youth survey looked at the role technology plays in supporting students’ health and wellness. Its purpose was to gain knowledge of how various forms of technology are applied to influence the health and wellness behavior of students – to ultimately help guide organizations like Dairy MAX in developing better programs and technology for the best user experience. It goes away from assuming how to develop programs to best reach Generation Z (1995 – 2012) and increase their consumption of dairy and serves as a tool to help build demand with them as part of the process.

Armed with the tools necessary to succeed, GENYOUth builds character and leadership development, encouraging youth to be the change-makers within their community. The youth become the influencers of health and wellness, promoting dairy’s role in a balanced diet.

Establishing health and wellness is a core priority of the dairy checkoff. With participation of over 9,500 schools in the Dairy MAX region, funding through GENYOUth is helping to advance these goals and establish life-long diary advocates at a critical time of youth. Their efforts build positive relationships for dairy from farm to fridge, increasing consumption with the next generation. To learn more about GENYOUth, visit