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The Secret to Good Health:
Eating Right and exercise

by Stephanie Marquardt
Boise State University

Grade: 9-12
Time Allotment: Two 50-minute class periods
Subject Matter: Health Studies and Nutrition

Nutrition and dietary practices are closely related to many aspects of wellness, including fitness, weight management, cardiovascular health, and the prevention of diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes mellitus. Our food selections reflect personal, familial, and cultural traditions. When considering the wide range of nutrients the human body needs to grow and be healthy, it may not be surprising that 75% of the population in the United States alone does not meet it daily recommended dietary allowances.

Through the activities presented in this lesson, students will become familiar with facts about nutrients, understand the different food groups, become aware of their recommended daily allowances for each nutrient, be able to read food labels and make appropriate choices when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. After examining Web sites and video clips, students will participate in a hands-on activity in which they will have to create a seven-day record of all the foods they consumed. As a class we will analyze what type of food was the most frequent in everyone's diet. By looking at each food choice the class will individually be responsible for looking up each food and recording its daily recommended amounts.

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  • Identify the significance of eating healthy.
  • Describe the nutrients and their sources.
  • Differentiate between HDL and LDL fats.
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of eating healthy or unhealthy foods.
  • Learn how to reduce their percentages of total calories from fat.

From the United States Health Standards for grades 9-12, available online at

  • Standard H.9-12.4 Influences on Health
    Students will analyze the influence of culture, media, technology, and other factors on health.

    Analyze how cultural diversity enriches and challenges health behaviors.
    Evaluate the effect of media and other factors on personal, family, and community health.
    Evaluate the impact of technology on personal, family, and community health, and analyze how information from the community influences health.
  • Standard H.9-12.6 Setting Goals for Good Health
    Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting and decision-making skills to enhance health.
    Demonstrate the ability to utilize various strategies when making decisions related to health needs and risks of young adults.
    Analyze health concerns that require collaborative decision?making.
    Predict immediate and long-term impact of health decisions on the individual, family, and community.
    Implement a plan for attaining a personal health goal.
    Evaluate progress toward achieving personal health goals.
    Formulate an effective plan for lifelong health.

From the Idaho State Learning Standards, available online at:

  • Standard 841: Students will acquire the essential skills to lead a healthy life.
  • Standard 835: The students will organize, analyze, and apply health information practices and services appropriate for individual needs.

Media Components :
Eat Smart Perf. Judy Woodruff, Videocassette Dist. By PBS Home Video, 1992

Web Sites:

  • Body Needs
    This Web site is divided into three sections, foods (above), parts of body (left), and nutrients (below). It allows the students to roll over any of the forty?two categories within these sections. It provides the student the opportunity to learn more about each section and see how it relates to other categories.
  • Health Action Guide
    This Web site offers a different outlook on improving your dietary health and ways to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Pencil and paper
Personal Assessment Seven-Day Diet Study (see attached)
Personal Assessment Do you have Fatty Habits? (see attached)
One magazine for each student
Glue one per group of two students
Poster board

Prep For Teachers
Prior to teaching this lesson, make sure that the Web sites used in the lesson have been bookmarked on each computer in your classroom. Prepare the handouts; make sure each student receives both personal assessment handouts. When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

Introductory Activities
Distribute or email the attached document "Do You Have Fatty Habits?" to your students. Ask your students to read over the instructions and begin the assessment.
After your students have completed the assessment, ask your students for a show of hands regarding who fell under the category of Excellent fat habits, then ask for those who fell under the Good fat habits, then the Need to trim some fat, and finally ask for a show of hands of those that fell under the Very high fat diet. Discuss results with the whole class.

Ask your students to get on-line and go to the Body Needs Website. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION; asking them to move the computer mouse back and forth across the top and bottom of the screen, paying attention to what happened when they scrolled over one of the words, the body, or the foods along the top of the page.

Ask your students write about at least three of the nutrients they highlighted when on the Body Needs Website. Ask students to include the name of the nutrient, what the main sources are, any deficiencies and the dietary recommendation per day.

Learning Activities
Ask your students what they think of when they hear the word "nutrition." What images come to mind? (Students will most likely respond health, diet, menu, food, nourishment, etc.) Explain to your students that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle people need to understand the importance of nutrition and balancing their diet. Explain to your students that they will now be looking at a piece of video that illustrates how lowering the amount of fat in their diet will better their chances of not getting cancer and heart diseases.

Insert Eat Smart, into your VCR. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to identify what three cultures were examined in the video. START the tape at the very beginning. PAUSE the tape when the screen shows a pie chart which has each percentage listed. Check for comprehension. (The three cultures that were being assessed where China, America, and Italy.)

Ask students why they think that the US had the highest percentage of fat in their diets compared to Italy, and China. Also in the fruit category the US was the lowest, explain why. (Answers will vary.) Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to identify the food groups mentioned in the next part of the segment and identify what phytochemicals are. PLAY the tape from its previous pause point until you hear about what phytochemicals are then STOP the tape. Check for comprehension. (Meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy, bread, cereal, rice and pasta and finally the fats, oils & sweets group. Phytochemicals are physiologically active components that are thought to deactivate carcinogens or function as antioxidants that fight tumors, and breast cancer.)

START tape where you left off right after phytochemicals. Let video continue until the lady is standing in the grocery store. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, ask students to identify what the recommended amounts for fat, cholesterol, salt, fruits/vegetables, and grains are. (Reduce fat to 30% of calories, 300mg of cholesterol a day, 6 grams of salt, 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables and 6 servings of whole grains, rice and pasta. The aim is reducing chronic diseases.)

Culminating Activity
For the next activity, students will have an opportunity to make choices about the foods they eat. Students will record for a week everything they eat and approximate serving amounts. After recording for a data, students will need to separate into the food groups:

  • Milk & Milk Products
  • Meats & Proteins
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Bread, Cereals, Grains, Pasta
  • Junk Food

(Junk food equals negative points) Have students evaluate their diet to determine areas needed for improvement.

Divide your class into groups of 2-3 students but preferably 2 students per group. Each group will be given a magazine, a piece of poster board, one marker, and a pair of scissors and some glue.

Students will look through the magazines looking for any type of food or product. They will cut any picture they want and make a meal that must be composed of all the food groups. Suggest that deciding together as a group on a meal before looking through the magazines would be a good idea. Once the meal is created have the students post their pictures on a bulletin board in your classroom.

As an assessment of the lesson, ask students to write an essay detailing the reasons why they chose the foods they did for their meal. Have students describe what factors were used in each choice and how they plan on adjusting their current eating habits.



  • Write a 1-2-page paper on the benefits of eating right. What factors are involved in choosing a food to eat?
  • Write about a disorder or disease that occurs from not eating properly.
  • Go to the local library and read an article in a magazine that examines nutrition.

Have students read a food label. Look at a cereal label and answer the following questions:

  • What is the size of a serving of cereal?
  • How many calories are in a serving?
  • How much fat is in a serving?
  • How many calories does this represent?
  • What percentage of the calories in this product comes from fat?
  • . What does this tell you?
  • What is the % of Daily Value for fat?
  • What does this tell you?
  • How much fiber is in a serving?

Research online the history and development of the food pyramid. Identify who invented it.

Have students create a collage combing the foods they like and the foods they dislike. (Have students bring their artwork to class and share why they designed their collage the way they did.)

Community Connections:

  • Visit your local art museum with the intent to find a piece of art that uses some type of food expressed in a painting. Name and describe what the painting looked like. I What do you think caused the painter to create such a piece of art, what feelings did the painting arouse?
  • Go and visit your local health and welfare department. Interview a worker and find out the level of malnutrition in your community.
  • Go to a local grocery store and ask a clerk what the average amount a customer spends in their store. Do they notice whether a higher amount of junk or healthier foods are being bought?

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