Both Dean Rusk and Freedom Middle School are participating in Fuel Up to Play 60.
The initiative is a collaboration of the National Dairy Council and the National Football League that empowers students to take control of the fitness level at their schools.
Students collaborate with school leaders to create 60 minutes of daily physical activity and to make more healthy foods available.
Students visit the Web site at www.fueluptoplay60.com to enroll and pledge to eat healthy and be physically active. Online, they can track their daily eating habits and physical activity, earn points and win prizes.
Schools that participate receive a Fuel Up to Play 60 wellness kit, promotional materials and recommended strategies to increase their changes to be successful.
Dean Rusk Middle on Friday conducted a kick-off celebration with Gin Miller of Canton, inventor of the Step Aerobic block, as the guest speaker.
Freedom Middle School will conduct its kickoff rally next Wednesday and Thursday.
Participating schools also compete for a $5,000 grant from the National Dairy Council to purchase physical education equipment for the students to use.
Janet Roach, physical education teacher at Dean Rusk, said her students seem excited about the program.
"They can benefit because they can feel better about themselves and lead a better lifestyle," she said.
Beginning in February, Dean Rusk teachers will be allowed to take between a three- and five-minute break from lessons so students can do exercises.
They also will do a taste test among students and collaborate with the district's School Food Services department to add the most popular choices onto the Web site.
Freedom Middle School physical education teacher Anita Dodd said her students are enthusiastic about the program.
Ms. Dodd said the school is starting a daily breakfast club for students to eat healthier choices together before starting their day.
School leaders also are eyeing physical activity exercises they may start school wide.
For her students, Ms. Dodd said she wants them to realize the decisions they make now can affect their health as adults.
"The biggest thing we want them to understand is how easy it is to make healthy choices," she said.
Both teachers said the main goal is for the students to take action.
"It also gets kids to make positive changes in the school," Ms. Roach added.
One Dean Rusk student already is trying to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Kelsey Macke, the 13-year-old daughter of Chris Macke of Toonigh, said she taking advantage of the opportunity to "get fit."
The eighth-grader now does two hours of exercise every day. She walks for 30 minutes and exercises for an hour and a half with the school's cheerleading team.
She's eating five servings of fruits, three servings of dairy, three servings of breads and grains and three servings of vegetables daily. And her eating stops at 6:30 p.m. each day.
As a result, Kelsey has lost 15 pounds, and is the second top-scorer in the school's competition.
"I don't plan to stop," she said, adding she's building up her immune system and has gained more muscle mass.