Staying in the game with good nutrition
Last Modified: March 06. 2013 9:20AM
PLAINS TWP. — Former NFL punter Sean Landeta Tuesday told about 100 students at Plains/Solomon Elementary/Junior High Center not to kick breakfast out of their daily routine.
Landeta, who brought his two Super Bowl rings to show the students, said proper nutrition fuels the body and the mind and that results in high performance.
“If you eat properly, you will have the energy to meet the demands of physical training and classroom learning,” Landeta said.
Landeta, 51, grew up in Baltimore. He said having a pro athlete speak to students is a good idea — he said it leaves a lasting impression.
“When I was growing up, if Brooks Robinson or Johnny Unitas came to my school and told me to clean my room, I did it,” he said. “I'm not saying it's right, but kids tend to listen to pro athletes or other idols like Britney Spears or Justin Bieber.”
Landeta's appearance was part of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council's “Fuel Up to Play 60” program, which is designed to help reverse the trend toward increased weight and sedentary lifestyles among America's youth. Kate Grosso of the ADA said the program is run in conjunction with the NFL.
Grosso said overweight children are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other chronic problems, as well increasing their risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and other acute diseases.
Brian Fischer, activities director at Solomon, said all students there participate in the program, but only 100 were involved with Tuesday's talk. Pam Rusnak, a nutrition consultant with the American Dairy Association, said the program continues every day to encourage students to eat healthy every day.
Landeta met with students for breakfast in the school library and then interacted with them in the gymnasium. He helped out in the tug of war and later posed for photos with the students. The students also participated in dancing, jumping jacks, running in place, stretching, toe touching and running.
“This was a good program because kids need to know how to eat right,” said Madisyn Hawkins, 14, an 8th grade student. “Having Sean Landeta here inspires more kids and by learning together, we have a lot of fun too.”
Hawkins and P.J. Marinko — who turned 14 Tuesday — said they enjoy a good steak as their favorite meal. Both said they eat meat for the protein.
“This was good for kids our age to learn about the importance of eating breakfast,” Marinko, a lineman on the school football team, said. “I think we will try to eat more healthy foods.”
Landeta was on two Super Bowl winning teams - Super Bowl XXI (Giants over the Broncos, 39-20) and Super Bowl XXV (Giants over the Bills, 20-19). He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the 1980s and 1990s NFL All-Decade teams. Undrafted out of college in 1983, Landeta played in the USFL for three years before landing a job with the Giants (1985-1993); then the L.A./St. Louis Rams, 1993-96; Tampa Bay, 1997; Green Bay, 1998; Eagles, 1999-2002 and again in 2005; Rams again, 2003-04; and Giants, 2006.
“It's great to work with kids,” Landeta said. “I hope I can inspire them to want to do more — to eat right and take care of their minds and bodies.”