Jill Jayne: A Rockin’ Approach to Children’s Nutrition

PHOTO: MICHAEL RAY

Dating back to high school, Jill Jayne recalls her love of music, theater and health. As captain of her school’s cross country team and lead in the school musical, careful nutrition planning was front and center. “I started seeing a registered dietitian and saw my running times come down and my endurance maintained,” she says. “I was awestruck by the power of a healthy diet and wanted to be in that profession.”

Fast-forward to college, when Jayne studied nutrition, theater and journalism at Pennsylvania State University. During her senior year, Jayne was hired by Public Broadcasting Service as a writer and producer for the children’s show “What’s In the News,” an opportunity that proved she could work in the entertainment industry. 

Jayne moved to New York City, where she could pursue both a career in children’s entertainment and the registered dietitian credential. In 2006, the nutrition-focused show Jump with Jill debuted as a free street performance in Central Park. 

To further develop the show, Jayne drew from her experience fronting a rock band, making Jump with Jill a music-based approach to nutrition education for kids in kindergarten through 6th grade. She later transformed the show into a full-fledged program by creating educational materials, including activity sheets, cafeteria posters and interactive music videos. 

In its 10 years, Jump with Jill has been performed thousands of times in the U.S., Canada and Europe, and has received recognition in the form of Emmy Award nominations, Grammy nomination consideration and an invitation to meet then First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. 

“I’m doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do,” Jayne says. “I’m a born entertainer and use those skills to be an activist for better nutrition.”

Lauren Fox
Lauren Fox is the managing editor of Food & Nutrition Magazine and senior manager of creative media at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.