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Health and Wellness
Healthy Eating and Active LifeStyles
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Module 3: Tying it Together
Choosing Your HEALS Committee
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Student Education Curriculum
Module 3: Tying it Together: Body Weight, Body Image, and Goal Setting
This is the third module of the Healthy Eating and Active LifeStyles toolkit. During this module students will learn about exercise and physical activity. This module, based on the Health Belief Model (Glanz, Lewis & Rimmer, 2002), is designed to:
Help students evaluate the influence of the environment (built and social) on weight
Increase awareness of the benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
Decrease the barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
Increase students' confidence that they are capable of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
Encourage a healthy body image
Students will be able to:
Identify their body mass index (BMI) and BMI classification
Describe contradictory trends in weight in Americans and the media
Set and review exercise and/or physical activity goals
Identify triggers for unhealthy behavior
Articulate strategies to lose, gain, or maintain weight
Computer with projector, chalk or dry erase board, internet access for students
Before educating your students about exercise and physical activity, you will need to:
Read the instructor background information
Review all components to the lesson. You may want to print out the PowerPoint presentations and review the information in the notes section
Decide if you will use some or all discussion topics, classroom lessons, computer lab activities, worksheets and projects. Although it will be most effective if you teach all components, you may eliminate some if you face time constraints
Go into the lesson ready to have interesting discussions and make this topic fun
Instructor Background Information
Overweight and obesity in all age ranges, including adolescents and young adults, has increased over the last 30 years. During a 1976-1980 survey, only 5 percent of adolescents were overweight. By the 2003-2006 survey, nearly 18 percent of adolescents were overweight (CDC, 2009, Oct 20). Overweight and obesity can lead to numerous health ailments including heart disease (CDC, 2008, Sept 11), some types of cancer (CDC, 2009, June 29), and diabetes (CDC, 2008).
In this module, students will have the opportunity to learn about weight, energy balance, and body image. Discussion topics and worksheets are provided to assist students in setting goals and identifying reasons they engage in unhealthy behaviors. Studies show that behavior-oriented goal setting helps adolescents to adopt healthy behaviors (Nothwehr & Yang, 2007). Additionally, adolescents who have a positive body image are less likely to gain weight than those who do not feel good about themselves (Nothwehr & Yang, 2007; van den Berg & Neumark-Sztainer, 2007).
Individual behaviors are not the only influences on overweight and obesity. The environment in which we live also plays a role. Some factors in our environment include friends, family, and other people to motivate us; access to recreation facilities; safe places to walk or run; and availability of healthy and affordable food (Papas, Alberg, Ewing, Helzlsouer, Gary & Klassen, 2007).
Discussion Topics/Classroom Lessons
Body Mass Index
Have students complete the computer lab activity listed below or project the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute body mass index (BMI) calculator onto a screen in your classroom (
). Give students some sample BMIs and ask them to put them into the categories provided on the website. Follow up:
Ask if anyone was surprised by their BMI or the sample BMIs.
Explain to the class that BMI was developed to assess body fat. It is reliable for most people, but there are exceptions. For example, if someone, like a bodybuilder, has a lot of muscle mass and little fat, their BMI might put them in the overweight or obese range even though their body fat is low (NHLBI, 2009).
Americans are gaining weight while our image of beauty is getting thinner. The
PowerPoint presentation explores obesity trends and causes, and body image. When you are delivering this presentation, try to build a discrepancy about how Americans are gaining weight while models are getting thinner.
Split the class into groups. Give each group a magazine that appeals to adolescents and young adults. Have them complete
Worksheet: Weight and Advertising
. Discuss the answers afterward. Questions for additional discussion may include:
Why do you think that advertisements primarily show thin people?
What do you think would happen if companies used normal weight or overweight models?
Do you think models really look like that?
Video recommendation to be incorporated into the discussion: Dove Campaign for Real Beauty® "Evolution" video, available at
Goal setting is an important step to change behavior. Frequent goal setting that focuses on diet or physical activity is more effective than setting weight loss goals for adolescents (Nothwehr & Yang, 2007). Goal setting is not a one-time process. In order for it to be effective, people must set their goals, evaluate their performance, and either revise the goals or set new goals (Lock & Latham, 2002).
In order for goal setting to be effective, the student must set attainable goals. Setting unrealistic goals has been shown to decrease satisfaction with weight loss in adolescents (Alm, Soroudi, Wylie-Rosett, Isasi, Suchday, Rieder & Khan, 2008).
Have students complete
Worksheet: Goal Setting Part A
, then have the following discussion:
Ask for volunteers to share their goals. Write them on the board. As a class, evaluate whether they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-orientated. Have the student help each other evaluate their goals.
Ask students how they think their lives will change if they reach their goals.
Many people eat unhealthy foods when they are stressed or nervous. Stress management techniques can help combat stress eating.
Have students close their eyes. Ask them to clear their mind and focus on their breathing. If a thought comes to their mind, tell them to acknowledge the thought and then go back to focusing on breathing.
After a few minutes, walk students through a progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation can help relieve tension in muscles. Starting with their feet and ending with their face, have students gradually tense muscle groups on an inhale, then exhale to release the tension. A tutorial can be found on Web MD at
. You may also search "progressive muscle relaxation" online to find video tutorials.
This activity can be used to introduce
Worksheet: Emotional Eating
Computer Lab Activities
Calculate Your Body Mass Index
Have students visit the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute body mass index website at
to calculate their BMIs and determine their BMI categories.
Worksheets and Projects
Worksheet: Calorie Balance
To maintain weight, students should eat as many calories as they burn. To lose weight, they need to eat less than they burn; to gain weight they need to eat more than they burn. This worksheet will help students understand the calorie equation.
Have students visit the SuperTracker website at
and log into their account. (If they did not register for one during the Healthy Eating 101 lesson, have them do so now. See the
Healthy Eating 101 lesson
for a tutorial). The directions to enter food intake and activity are on the worksheet.
Worksheet: Emotional Eating
A lot of people gain weight because they eat when they are tired, bored, annoyed, angry or stressed. This worksheet will help students identify their emotional triggers and develop a plan to replace emotional eating with a healthier way to feel better. See the Relaxation Techniques classroom lesson for complementary activities.
Worksheet: Setting Goals (Parts A and B)
This two part worksheet helps students write and revise specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-orientated (SMART) goals for nutrition and physical activity. Students should complete the two worksheets three to four weeks apart. Students should complete a separate part A of the worksheet for each goal they would like to achieve. The process can be repeated as needed. See
discussion topic to build on these worksheets. Discussion should occur in between the worksheets.
Worksheet: Body Image
Adolescents who have a positive body image are less likely to gain weight than those who do not feel good about themselves (Nothwehr & Yang, 2007; van den Berg & Neumark-Sztainer, 2007). This worksheet is designed to help young people feel good about their body, whatever the shape or size. See the
discussion for additional information.
Worksheet: Weight and Advertising
This worksheet is designed to engage students in conversation about how weight is portrayed in the media. Students should be assigned groups. Each group should receive a magazine. See the
discussion for additional information.
Worksheet: The Environment
Our environment, including access to healthy foods, safe places to exercise, and the people who surround us, play a large role in our health. This worksheet is designed to help students understand the relationship between their surroundings and their health. Additionally, students will begin to learn how to advocate for healthier environments.
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