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Healthy Lifestyle Essay, English Composition Writing on Healthy Lifestyle

Essay Example 1: Skin Cancer and Healthy Behavior

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Unites States. The American Cancer Society predict that more than 1 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in out country this year. Statistics prove that more than 10, 250 people will die from skin cancer in 2004. The cause of skin cancer is still being researched, but health investigators believe it is associated with exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. But, how do you prevent skin cancer? One way is to protect your skin with sunscreen, and to stay out of the sun as much as possible. How do you maintain a tan without endangering your skin? Leave that up to Neutrogena Instant Bronzers. Scientific research is beginning to make people more aware of the serious risk of cancer. Through portraying an alternative from baking in the sun or roasting in a sun bed, Neutrogena captures the sales from those who treasure their health and bodies.

The magazine ad placed in Teen Vogue pictures a stunning young woman in a short and sexy one-piece halter skirt, confidently showing off her “perfect tan.” She flashes a gorgeous smile, and has her chin resting against her hand, visually suggesting, “Look at me.”
Primarily teen girls and young women read Teen Vogue. Placing this ad in a magazine targeting this audience suggest Teen Vogue is concerned about skin cancer, and wants to stress their concern by illustrating an appealing alternative in their ad. According to Dr. Audrey Kunin, diplomat of the American board of Dermatology, the earlier people develop ultraviolet skin damage, the more apt it is that they will develop melanoma, a form of cancer. Since most tanning bed users are under the age of 30, this ad is aimed towards them. The white background of the ad places all the attention on the woman. It causes her radiant and natural-looking skin to stand out, just as many women want to stand out in society today. The successful aftermath shown through the image of a knockout beauty, and the alternative technique present to obtain a natural-looking tan without abusing your skin with ultraviolet ray allures customers. Customers are intrigued by a healthy method for acquiring a tan, and are assured efficient flawless results through the satisfied smile of the model.

The casual and sporty tennis-like skirt worn by the modes suggest athleticism and a leisure type of lifestyle. Playing tennis or another outdoor sport is an ideal opportunity to get a tan, but with Neutrogena Bronzer player can focus on their games rather than acquiring a copper tone. Free time to play tennis suggests a relaxing lifestyle. Why not make you life more relaxing and stress-free with Neutrogena Bronzer? According to the U.S. Department of Public Health and Human Services, it seems to be common sense to apply sunscreen when being exposed to the sun, but few people realize the “potential dangers associated with the use of tanning beds” Neutrogena provide the same result you would receive from tanning beds, sun bathing, or tanning pills, but in a safer, quicker, easier procedure. The relaxed and glowing disposition of the woman persuades customers to recognize this quick and easy product. This product offers instant results leaving time for other satisfactions to attend to.

Applying self-tanner may seem unusual, complicated, and unnatural to many, but Neutrogena stops at nothing to promote this product as a quick and easy procedure. The ad offers choices, which are appealing to consumers. Two well-designed bottles appear on the page. The consumer is given the option of selecting foam or lotion instant bronzer. It causes them to believe that having the option of making a decision will distinguish them from other buyers. Both bottles are golden with bronze covers. The colors are attractive to the buyers who want their color tone to resemble these vibrant, creamy shades. Are you still a bit indecisive about self-tanner? Neutrogena presents an easy step-by-step application video on their website.

Curious about this Instant Bronze Video, I explored the website. An introduction by Elizabeth Brous intrigues the reader by proposing different events, such as prom night, that consumers would want to attend with a glimmering perfect tan. She writes the “bad news” of a “true tanfest” could result in a higher risk of cancer, and wrinkling at an early age. Of course, tanning salons are going to claim their bulbs are safe, but why wouldn’t they? Before fawning over the gorgeous sun god pictured on the brochures of these salons, look into the future and recognize the consequences your health may pay. Brous saves the day with the alternative of obtaining a glossy golden tan instantly without skin cancer risks. The bronzers described as “high-tech formulas” exhibits them with an air of sophistication, as if dermatologists tested and blended these lotions to the ultimate perfection. Mandy Moore, an influential singer and actress, models her sunless tan in a simple, yet classy silver fitted dress. Her dazzling smile reflects her happiness with the results, and urges those consumers inspired by her to buy the product.

Celebrities have a huge effect on the products we buy. We are influences by the new trends and styles they set. Everyone wants to be like a celebrity, so we do everything we can to interpret this advertisement as a safe technique for obtaining and maintaining an eye-catching tan that will reward users with the admiration and fascination given to the model.

Essay Example 2: Lifestyle and Behaviors

Approaches to a Healthy Lifestyle

The present lifestyle of many Americans is such a threat to their health that the choices they make
actually lead to premature illness and death.  Although improving one’s quality of life is a personal choice, following some of the most basic steps could actually add years on to one’s life.
To enjoy a healthy lifestyle, a person should practice behaviors that could lead to positive outcomes.  Wellness requires a balance among physical, emotional, intellectual, social, environmental, occupational, and spiritual well-being.  The following are ten simple lifestyle habits that can increase longevity significantly:

1.      Physical activity, including exercise
2.      No tobacco use
3.      Eating a healthy diet
4.      Maintaining one’s recommended body weight
5.      Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
6.      Decreasing the amount of stress in one’s life
7.      Drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all
8.      Surrounding oneself with healthy relationships
9.      Having knowledge about the environment and avoiding environmental risk factors
10.    Taking personal safety measures

Essay Example 3: Organic Farming

Through out the history of mankind, we have cultivated our own food. We have created a society where everything is almost given to us; there are people who work hard day after day trying to feed themselves and the rest of the world. Some people choose to grow the crops in a sustainable way to have a healthy lifestyle. This is a main reason they grow their own food this way. Some farmers and companies practice what I call “super cropping”. This is a vegetable growing operation, which

In the process of growing “organically” There are many farming methods some of which include Weeding, natural Pest Remedies, and naturally occurring Fertilizers. These are all key topics to living and growing a healthy lifestyle. One of the first things you should do is clear your land/plot of any weeds. There are many different ways of doing that. You can use sheet mulch which is either newspaper or black plastic. After removing the weeds, the ground is ready for plants through the material on the ground you cut a hole for the plants to grow through. What this does is keeps the weeds from growing up due to no sunlight. Another method of weed control is flame weeding which is highly suggested for large amounts of land. burns all the new weed seedlings. This is an advantage for other plants because it heats the soil where the soil is cold it is a plus. Some other techniques include cutting down (weeds) before they flower which in the long run will save you a lot more time, some farmers tend to do this because weeds go to seed after the flowering stage. If a gust of wind comes than all those horrible weeds would be transplanted in your garden. Last but not least the good old fashioned hand weeding which I think is my favorite because I feel it connects me more to nature.

After you have your land weed free, and clear of any invasive plants, you might start to notice something is nipping at your vegetables. This would be an insect infestation this is not healthy for your young ones because they are subject to diseases Therefore there are organic pest remedies that are still to this day practiced throughout the World. There are many good or (beneficial) insects for your garden the problem is trying to determine which ones they are. That being said most people deicide to use chemical sprays, and that is not good unless you want to eat chemicals. One thing you should do is clear all weeds around plants so there’s no place for the insects to hide, Then you should also take into consideration that planting some crops such as potatoes, carrots, cabbage and broccoli seem to attract more insects than others. Another solution is planting some flowers such as daisies, cosmos, dill, clover, and coneflower. These are good flowers for attracting beneficial insects. This is an insect that preys on undesirable pest. The key is to make sure something is in flower all season. Avoid growing the same types of vegetables in the same spot year after year. This is called crop rotation. A four year rotation is best and of course maintaining your garden is very important. Simply picking up dead plants and fruit will decrease the chance of a sad infestation.

A really big key point to growing organically is using no chemicals and instead using all natural resources. Soil fertility is also a very important part for healthy plants. Here are four things that should be added as raw materials to the soil. Organic matter such as compost or manure. This should help raise the nitrogen and should be applied up to 20 tons per acre, Second is Rock Phosphate which is a fine powder and should be applied every four years, third is Green sand marl. This is sand with some potassium but mostly micronutrients to feed the soil. The forth is limestone which is a ground rock containing calcium and magnesium. All these are very important especially the micronutrients because they feed the soil. Why feed the soil instead of the plant you ask? Because the plants need a balanced availability of nutrients.

Fertilizing your plants will help them grow healthy. It is better to use naturally occurring fertilizers such as manure, slurry, worm castings, peat moss, seaweed, and guano. Some naturally occurring minerals are rock phosphate, sulfate, potash, and limestone. Some manufactured fertilizers include blood meal, and bone meal.

The history of organics dates as far back as World War two, A Chemical substances know as Ammonium Nitrate And DDT were sprayed around the position of the troops to control insects around them. In 1944 a campaign by the name of Green Revolution was formed in Mexico and had private funding by the United States to encourage hybrid growing, with chemical controls. Around the 1950’s scientists all over the country studied for a sustainable agriculture system, But research still came to chemical approaches, until a guy by the name of Jerome Irving Rodale made a dramatic change in the promotion of organic farming. He wrote many healthy living books and magazines articles. He quickly popularized the term “Organic” to mean grown without pesticides. Around the time of 1970 most Americans eyes started to open. Global movements concerned with the pollution, and the environment increased their focus on organic farming. At this time the difference of health benefits between organic and conventional food became clearer.

So next time you go to the store you might want to think about what you are really eating, I think the best way to ensure that your body is getting the right nutrients is to grow your own produce. With just a little time and effort you can have a wonderful organically grown garden.

Essay Example 4: Guide to Healthy Eating

A Quick Guide to Healthy Eating

Good nutrition plays a key role in health and wellness and mixed with frequent exercise can lead to a healthier and longer life. Unfortunately many people ignore the need for good nutrition, as evident by the growing number of overweight and obese individuals. There are a number of guidelines that have been set out by Nutrition Australia for older teenagers and adults. Below are some guidelines and information which can aid adults in living a longer, healthier life.

Eat Plenty of These:
• Fresh vegetables, fruit, and legumes
• Cereals (preferably wholegrain and including breads, rice, pasts, and muesli)

• Lean meat, fish, and poultry
• Milks, yoghurts, and cheeses (preferably reduced fat varieties where possible)

Drink Plenty of:
• Water

• Saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
• Alcohol intake

• Foods low in salt
• Foods that have moderate amounts of sugar and foods containing sugar

Other ways in which to live a healthy lifestyle:
• Consuming a varied diet – that is aim for different types of food across the whole range of food
   types, such as fruit, vegetable, meats
• To have a healthy lifestyle good eating patterns should be combined with regular moderate

The following are some physical activity guidelines that combined with good nutrition will improve lifestyle:

• Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
• Be active everyday in as many ways as you can
• Put at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days
• If you can, also enjoy some regular vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness

With a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise there are a number of positive benefits:

• More energy , less lethargic
• Better concentration and mental processes
• Increased work and life performance
• Happier lifestyle
• Increased self-esteem and self-confidence

Essay Example 4: What is a Healthy Lifestyle

Public awareness of personal health and fitness has grown tremendously over the last few decades. In generations past the idea of eating right and being physically fit was a luxury reserved for a privileged few. This concept has matured to embrace the idea that we all need to regularly engage in pursuit of our own wellbeing. It seems that every week there is a new diet or fitness craze that emerges promising to provide the missing element to help you trim down and shape up. With all the choices available, it’s no wonder that the majority of individuals that try to improve their condition, eventually drift back into old habits and fall short of their goals, feeling discouraged and even more confused about how to effectively begin living a healthy lifestyle.

Defining the elements that constitute a healthy lifestyle is often as challenging as living the model. Training for the body and conditioning for the mind serves to address the duality of our complex nature. To neglect one in favor of the other, only serves to make your approach one dimensional and reduces its effectiveness.  Most fitness professionals agree that there are several key factors that are necessary for a well rounded training routine. Each component adds greater depth to your overall approach to wellness. Here are several things to consider while developing your approach to healthy living.
A comprehensive model of healthy living should address physical and mental training, nutrition, and how to balance these with quality rest and recovery.  Resistance training enhances your capacity to perform activities requiring physical strength. This coupled with cardio-conditioning increases your endurance, or the ability to work longer periods of time without overtaxing. Combing strength and endurance with systems of exercise that increase flexibility, or the range of motion in a joint, aid in allowing for a greater sense of confidence and coordination as you move. Choosing an activity, that challenges your body and equally engages your mind, will serve to increase your powers of concentration and helps you to become calmer. Working with a Personal Trainer or other qualified fitness professionals can help you to get started in a smart and safe manner.

Maintaining a balanced and varied diet is essential for the promotion of health. Eating fresh foods with a minimum of processing is believed by many experts to provide a greater quality of nutrition. Altering your diet to take advantage of ‘what’s in season’ will give you a broader selection of foods to choose from as well.
According to a prominent neuro-immunologist and one of the nation’s leading authorities on stress reduction, the clinical definition of aging is: “The bodies declining ability for recovery.”  Hall further states that this decline is not necessarily linked to our chronology, but is likely the result of stress due to the unceasing demands that we place on ourselves. Sufficient rest when we feel tired or during times that are exceedingly stressful is essential.  Adequate recovery from work or injuries and extra rest when we feel illness coming on is our best weapon to aid in the healing process.
The best gauge of health and fitness is “how well you feel on a daily basis.” At the core of this level of wellness is a lifestyle built around balance and moderation. Take the time to take care of yourself. The results of your investment will prove to be well worth the effort.

Essay Example 5: Healthy School Meals

Sometimes it seems hard to believe it, but in fact it is true, that actually St. Peter's, from it's small part of Nottingham, was the catalyst for the now growing movement to improve the quality of school meals. All the government initiatives and even Jamie Oliver's (our favourite chef) campaign was inspired by what we began at St. Peter's. Yet, what was that? Simply a desire to provide a better nutritional deal for the children of East Bridgeford through the provision of non-processed, locally sourced and organic food, freshly cooked each day by our fantastic kitchen staff, originally led by the now famous Mrs. Orrey and more recently by the dedicated and aptly named Mrs. Plumb. This is our so named 'Primary Choice' school meals' service.

This is a reputation, however, that we do not want to boast about (although we are always willing to help others who are interested in improving their own service), but rather continue to sustain and develop on behalf of the children we serve. As we are aware, an increasing amount of research is proving that eating the right nutritionally balanced meals, and also drinking water throughout the day, can improve children's behaviour, personalities and ability to learn. What we want to tell children and anyone else who wants to listen is that it can be better and it is possible.

We do this by cooking from fresh on the premises and combining ordinary foods, with locally sourced and organic produce, as much as possible avoiding processed food. Whatever our menus we will always have a baked potato option, fresh fruit and a help yourself salad bar. Moreover, we use proper crockery and table cloths, recognising that eating together with friends is about our social, as well as nutritional, well-being and education. We also have plumbed in, filtered water machines in each classroom both to provide and symbolise the importance of drinking well. Through all of this we are also able to get pupils interested in learning more about nutrition and the importance of healthy lifestyles through our classroom teaching.

Within this we are particularly keen to encourage our Early Years children to stay for lunch and in line with this offer them dinners at a reduced rate. Furthermore, we are keen to have parents and other friends/members of the community joining us and hardly a day goes by when this doesn't happen. To help parents and pupils make an informed choice, we also send menus home each week.

Our message is a simple one, therefore: eat healthily and live well. This is not about telling children what to eat, but about educating them so that they can make informed choices in a balanced way, both now and in the future. The value we attach to our school meals service and the quality of the food, simply helps us engage pupils more fully in this positive message. We also see healthy eating as only a part of a broader health message, which also encompasses the need for physical fitness (hence we offer a lot of sporting opportunities) and the self-confidence to follow a healthy life-style and resist bad influences and harmful peer pressure (i.e. resisting such temptations as drugs and cigarettes).

In essence we try to help to ensure children get a well balanced meal at midday and a well balance healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives. Of course the decision is one that every individual and family must make for themselves, but we help they will make our service and message their 'Primary Choice'.

Essay Example 6: Obsession about being Thin

At present, a new dilemma has come to our nation's, and the world's, attention: dangerously thin, half-starved models who are setting the weight standard for today's society. People, especially young women, look at these models and want to look just like them, no matter what the consequences to their bodies and minds. This has caused an increase in eating disorders and has emphasized an unhealthy lifestyle. Fortunately, organizations like the  have begun to create committees and form guidelines for models to help promote a healthier life style. As long as models, modeling agencies, and designers are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles, this dangerous trend can and will cease to exist.

We are currently seeing a trend in today's fashion world where runway models are disappearing before our eyes. Models have gotten to be so thin, that now, "the average runway model is estimated to be 5 feet 9 inches tall and to weigh in at 100 lbs. – resulting in a BMI of just 16" (Klonick). Why is a BMI, short for Body Mass Index, of just 16 such a dreadful thing? Well consider this: "The standard accepted by the World Health Organization is that an index of under 18.5 is underweight" . Don't get me wrong, there are healthy models out there, but the majority of models have become thin and emaciated. As former model Lori Dyson puts it, "There are healthy models out there with a naturally high metabolism, but the models I'm seeing on the runway now can not possibly be healthy. Dull skin, sunken eyes, bodies that look like they could break any second…that is not healthy" (Dyson) This life-threatening trend became dead serious when several models, including 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, died from self-starvation ("Fashion Bosses"). However, models haven't always been this skeletal. Dyson states that it was very different when she modeled in high school. "The emphasis was more on having a healthy, fit body. It was all about learning to balance eating right and exercising". And in today's modeling world? Now the emphasis is, to put it plainly, on looking like a stick. "In the 90s…the sample size used by designers was a size 6 to 8, now…a size 0 to 2". As you can clearly see, there has been a drastic change in models' weight over the years and experts agree it is time to put a stop to it before more people starve themselves to fit the severe standards of the fashion industry.

The obsession over too-thin models has had a negative effect on today's society, particularly for women. There has been a definite increase in eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia ever since abnormally thin models plagued the runway. "A 2000 British Medical Association study…found a link between the images of the abnormally thin models in fashion magazines and an increase in [eating] disorders" . “Do you look at pictures of me and want to puke?" [asked Cindy Crawford when asked if models were the cause of eating disorders] Evidently they're not hearing a resounding "Yes!" from the seven million American women who suffer from eating disorders". And it's not only American women who are suffering from eating disorders; teenagers are particularly susceptible to establishing an eating disorder because they don't always understand and cannot comprehend the damage they are doing to their bodies. Teenage girls strive to imitate their role models at whatever cost. What they don't realize is that the cost affects them both physically and mentally and can turn into an obsessive behavior that is destructive to their bodies and minds. “Too many teenage girls try to starve themselves into unhealthy thinness. The fashion industry is hugely powerful in shaping attitudes of young women" ("London"). By choosing overly-thin models, they are setting the standards for young women today. Runway shows, top model competitions, and even magazine covers all contribute to the hype of "Thin is in". “Teenagers should be figuring out who they are, how they feel about Iraq, about abortion. Instead, the question 'Who am I?' has been replaced by 'How do I look?'. It's time for the fashion industry to realize that they are deeply affecting people's body images today in a very negative manner and to make way for healthier, larger models.

So who, or what, started the hazardous trend of emaciated models in the first place? Models, designers, and fashion insiders all have very different views on the subject. Some blame the models, others the modeling agencies, and others blame the designers who want to create a certain look to showcase their designs. Donna Karan, a well-known fashion designer, "raised the heat" when she blamed modeling agencies for sending models who show signs of an eating disorder to castings . Modeling agencies got even more heat when Shape Magazine reported that they give models only a couple of weeks to "shape up, tone down, or ship out". Models comply with modeling agencies telling them to slim down or risk losing money. Others, however, blame the designers themselves. Georgio Armani states that "As so often in the fashion world, things have been taken to extremes." But he blames the models, saying, "there are…women who never accept that they are thin enough" Jillian Blume points out that "he fails to mention that if his models don't fit into his microscopic clothes, they're out of work. So who's to blame for starting the trend? While not everyone will agree, I personally believe that it was a combination of models, modeling agencies, and designers that kept the trend alive. Designers' clothes got smaller and smaller as they tried to create a "look". Models slimmed way down for either personal reasons or because they wanted to stand out and get more work. Modeling agencies sent these tiny models to castings so designers only had tiny models to choose from. Other models saw that tiny models were getting more work, and more money, so they decided to slim down too. In a vicious circle, the vicious trend is kept alive. If models decided to stop starving themselves to get work, if designers made their clothes for a larger, healthier person, and if modeling agencies stopped sending food-deprived models to castings, then maybe this vicious trend would cease to exist and we'd have healthy models on the runway and healthier body images.

For the people who have not been swept up into the skinny epidemic, a solution to this problem has been too long in coming. Lynn Grefe, chief executive of the National Eating Disorders Association, agrees. "This is long overdue. I consider this a workplace issue. You have this industry that has really not been looking out for the health and welfare of those that are in it. Fortunately for us, that is about to change. Fashion insiders are coming up with different plans to stop the dangerous trend. Already, "Madrid Fashion Week banned models with a Body Mass Index of less than 18" from walking on the runway. Now, for a 5-foot 9-inches model to be able to step foot on the runway, they would have to weigh at least 123 pounds. And it hasn't stopped there. Other fashion power houses are taking a cue from Madrid and coming up with restrictions and guidelines for models. "…in December, Italy's Chamber of Fashion  decreed that models on the Milan runways will need a license signed by a doctor guaranteeing they are healthy at least 16 years old". The  has gone even farther in their efforts to make models healthier by working with designer Diane von Furstenberg to put together a committee to work on a health program. The committee includes "nutritionist Joy Bauer, psychiatrist Susan Ice, trainer David Kirsch, and Nian Fish, creative director at show production firm KCD". However, the  and Madrid Fashion Week are not the only organizations that have been working to promote healthier body image. Fashion show coordinators in fashion hot spots like New York and London have not launched a ban on to skinny models, but they are having discussions with designers supporting the use of healthy-looking girls ("Fashion Bosses"). Designers in the Italian fashion industry agreed to only hire models above the age of 16 and to require that models must submit medical proof that they do not have an eating disorder . As long as these organizations are devoted to promoting healthy lifestyles and, as psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke puts it, "widening the spectrum of beauty," they can change the harsh standards of the fashion industry and end this dangerous trend.

Since the first time extremely emaciated models hit the runway, our nation and the whole fashion world has had nothing but a series of unfortunate events plague us. First, models slimmed way down, putting their health at risk, to get work and earn money. Then came a rise in eating disorders due to the fact that people were starving themselves to look like the wispy models. Models got thinner and thinner, and were promoting an unhealthy body image. People finally began to take the issue seriously when several models died due to eating disorders. Luckily, it didn't take another death to make the fashion world do something. Organizations are being made and regulations set, and with everyone's cooperation, we can turn this trend around. We owe it to ourselves and our bodies to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not let models be our role models for how we should look. This trend should be obliterated for the betterment of all our lives.

Essay Example 7: Healthy Eating &

Healthy eating and exercise will help in the prevention or maintenance of sugar levels thus lowering the chance of developing diabetes and/or other illnesses. A well balanced diet and regular exercise are important for a healthy lifestyle to avoid these health issues. There are certain benefits and important reasons for eating healthy. Eating healthy allows the body to operate more efficiently, so that the numbers of visits to the doctor’s office related to digestion or the lack there-of are kept to a minimum, and a better quality of life can be enjoyed. This paper will discuss the benefits of healthy eating, controlling diabetes and prevention of other diseases and illnesses.

There are significant benefits of feeling better. For one, a healthy lifestyle promotes feeling better through exercise, and taking advantage of activities that are not regularly participated in, because of the way the body feels. Feeling better will also boost metabolism. This means the body does not feel tired and could potentially encourage a daily exercise plan. Exercising will get the cardiovascular, lungs and stigma pumping. This exercise plan could aid in the prevention of unwanted medication due to fatigue, being overweight and generally not feeling well. Just moving about and being active can work certain parts of the body. When the body feels good it releases adrenaline. Adrenaline helps with daily activities. Walking or running on a daily basis will provide the body with some kind of physical activity. Feeling better alone with healthy eating is a key essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Another reason eating healthy foods is essential is it provides the body with nutrients needed to maintain energy levels throughout the day. A person will feel better and have higher sustained energy levels that could last until evening or when it is time to retire for the day. Here are some suggestions that should be used to start eating healthy. They recommend to develop a routine meal plan for daily meals and snacks. First, learn to not skip meals especially breakfast; a balanced breakfast is recommended every morning. Providing the body with breakfast in the morning is like starting the motor of a car with a full tank of gas. If there is no gas in the tank, the car will not run. With a full tank of gas, the car is able to run for days. By providing the body with fuel in the morning, the body is started for the day. When planning a routine meal plan for eating healthy, think about if the body weight is normal. If the body weight is normal, three meals a day and two snacks between meals can be enjoyed everyday. Snacks can be enjoyed between meals if hunger is experienced. Some suggestions for eating healthy without piling on calories are to eat raw foods like salads combined with low fat dressings. Drink plenty of water to dilute toxins the body stores, which could leave a sluggish feeling. If drinking water is boring, natural fruit juices low in sugars can be substituted.

Healthy eating can prevent certain types of diseases and high cholesterol. When shopping for food at the grocery store, purchase certain foods that are low in saturated fats, low fat or skim dairy products. Try to avoid a large amount of red meat. Purchase meat products that are high in protein and buy products that have some fiber in them. Foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol are known to cause blockage in the body arteries. When these arteries are blocked, the blockage will cut off the supply of blood to the heart. If the heart does not get the oxygen it needs, this will result in a heart attack. Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, butter and cooking oils are high in fats and should be given careful consideration when being purchased. The reasoning for not eating a large number of red meat products is because these meats are high in cholesterol and the body produces its own cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in our hormones and in bile acids for digestion purposes. When cholesterol is deposited into the body from the food we eat, the cholesterol goes into the arteries that could result in a blockage of the arteries. The coronary arteries narrow with high cholesterol foods. A person can develop angina, or result in a heart attack.

Foods we can eat to maintain a healthy body have carbohydrates low in total fat, non-dairy products, soy products, skinless chicken, fish e.g. salmon, cod, trout, and nuts. There are benefits to eating these types of foods. Eating these types will provide the body with the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy. Carbohydrates low in fat, reduce the amount of starch the body will absorb. These starches found in carbohydrates turn into certain sugars once it passes through the digestion track. Too much sugar in the body can be filtered into the blood. If there is a family history of diabetes, I would suggest being mindful of products purchased high in carbohydrate and sugars. This is why it is recommended to purchase products low in carbohydrates because as the body ages it unable to breakdown these products as effectively as it did when the body was younger.

As the body ages, the body loses certain hormones that are not reproduced therefore compromising overall health. Sugars are measured with a glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index measures how fast carbohydrates are digested when it enters the bloodstream which raises the blood-sugar levels in the body. When foods with a low glycemic index enter the bloodstream the insulin trigger is slower contributing to a steadier blood sugar level. When foods have a higher glycemic index entering the blood stream quickly, it causes the insulin to respond more quickly resulting in large blood sugar swings. This is why it is so important to balance carbohydrates each meal since the effect of one food offsets the other, and all foods turn into sugars to fuel the body.

Non-dairy products are recommended in practicing good choices for healthy eating. There are a couple of good reasons for purchasing non-dairy products. Non-dairy products are low fats. Non-dairy products provide the body with the benefit of getting some extra protein in the diet.
An additional good product to include when making good quality choices for healthy eating is soy. There are many benefits for including soy in a daily diet routine. Soy is high in protein. Soy can be substituted for red meat. Soy comes in a variety of forms. Soymilk is a non-dairy product. Soy products can be purchased in hamburger, hot dog, sausage, bacon, buffalo wing and host of other forms. It is possible to find soy products in a grocery store. There are many different brand names to choose from. In some studies, soy has been known to reduce hot flashes in women during menopause. Soy products can be used with hormone replacement therapy.

Skinless chicken is another product that is beneficial for healthy eating. Chicken also provides the body with protein. Removing the skin from the chicken is important for a couple of reasons. One reason for removing the skin is, so the body does not absorb all the fat that is stored in the skin. The fat from the skin contains and holds toxins that are not good for the body. These same fats produce starches and sugars in that could aid in blockages in the arteries over time. By simply removing the skin from the chicken that is one step forward in practicing good eating habits.
Fish alone is good for the body. Fish has certain oils that aids in the production of a healthy heart alone with providing the body with good saturated fatty oils. If fish is not a favorite to eat, a supplement of fish oil caplets or pills can be included in a daily diet routine.

Nuts are also an enormous source of nutrition with any diet plan. Nuts are an excellent source of protein, minerals and other nutrients found beneficial to the heart. According to the FDA in July, 2003, it is suggested that eating 1.5 ounces of some nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Six of the healthiest nuts to choose from are: walnuts that contain the antioxidant compound ellagic acid, which is known to fight cancer and support the immune system; almonds are rich in potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. Just a quarter cup of almonds contains as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk. Cashews are lower in fat that other nuts and 90 % of the fat found in cashews is oleic acid, the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil. Eating three quarters a cup of pecans can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and help clear the arteries. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium which may help with breast cancer. Macadamia nuts are also a good source of protein, fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium and magnesium. These nuts are also shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) just as the pecans do.

As with all daily routine diets, a good multivitamin is recommended. Even though this meal plan is a good choice for healthy eating, a multivitamin can be used in conjunction to maximize the benefits of healthy eating. There are a variety of multivitamins to choose from. Choose the multivitamin that best fits the body and lifestyle. Vitamins come in a host of categories. Vitamins can be purchased depending on the age of a person and other factors. For younger adults who are very active, a multivitamin choice may be a multivitamin with a higher percentage of B6 and B12 for energy.

For older adults with a calcium deficiency a multivitamin high in calcium would be a good choice. Whatever the need, there is multivitamin suited for the body and all lifestyles. To ensure that the multivitamin being purchased is tailored for the body and lifestyle, check with a doctor or pharmacist for help in choosing a good multivitamin.

Therefore, by following a basic guideline for healthy eating, the benefits of feeling better will be greater, and there will be fewer trips to the doctor’s office and a reduction in diseases and illnesses. A better quality of life can be enjoyed with a healthy diet and exercise.



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Advocate a Healthy Lifestyle

Students gain knowledge and skills in acquiring and practicing a healthy lifestyle using dietary guidelines that will reduce the risks of chronic disease and unsafe habits. They gain competence to differentiate methods of weight loss and learn reliable resources regarding food and beverage selection. Students will understand the cultural, family, community and economic implications of obesity, healthy weight and lifestyle.

Introductory Benchmark: Advocate a Healthy Lifestyle

Introductory Benchmark A: Identify social and cultural factors that influence healthy lifestyle choices.

Describe the impact of peer pressure on lifestyle.
Describe the impact of vending, fast/convenience foods on lifestyle.
Correlated English Language Arts Academic Content Benchmarks

Analyze the techniques used by speakers and media to influence an audience, and evaluate the effect this has on the credibility of a speaker or media message.

Introductory Benchmark B: Demonstrate use of problem solving to make healthy food choices for a healthy body.


Establish criteria for making daily food choices to meet valued outcomes (e.g., health, economics and aesthetics).
Explain how MyPyramid.gov guides healthy food choices.
Predict the consequences of using daily recommended dietary habits.
Explain how group/team skills accommodate and meet individual healthy body needs in a family/household with diverse preferences.

Correlated English Language Arts Academic Content Benchmarks

Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-appropriate text.
Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing).
Compile, organize and evaluate information, take notes and summarize findings.
Analyze the techniques used by speakers and media to influence an audience, and evaluate the effect this has on the credibility of a speaker or media message.

Correlated Mathematics Academic Content Benchmarks
Estimate, compute and solve problems involving real numbers, including ratio, proportion and percent, and explain solutions.

Introductory Benchmark C: Describe food intake patterns related to healthy lifestyle outcomes.


1. Recognize choices that promote healthy food consumption.

2. Identify food categories or combinations that meet healthy dietary guidelines and contribute to healthy eating patterns.

3. Demonstrate knowledge of basic food preparation.

Introductory Benchmark D: Examine restaurants and their menus related to a healthy lifestyle.


Research www.MyPyramid.gov to gain knowledge of restaurant menu items for nutritional value.
Differentiate among restaurant menu items that contribute to daily requirements including portion control.
Identify nutritious foods to eat when away from home.


1. Determine reliable sources of nutrition information.
2. Identify the components of the USDA nutrition facts label.
3. Research special claims on food labels related to the nutritive value of packaged food.
4. Demonstrate knowledge of nutrient functions in the body.

Correlated English Language Arts Academic Content Benchmarks

Understand factors associated with body weight.

1. Explain the role of exercise in managing weight.
2. Identify factors that influence body weight.
3. Explain criteria for determining healthy body weight.

1. Identify the health benefits of physical activity and sleep.

2. Describe physical activities suitable for adolescents.

3. Describe the sleep patterns suitable for adolescents.

Ensure Food Safety

Students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become informed and safe consumers and handlers of food. They evaluate information related to advances in food technology, nutrition and safety. Students will master the skills required to safely prepare and store food, reducing the risk of food borne illness. Students will evaluate the impact of consumer choice on the environment and the global community.

Introductory Benchmark: Ensure Food Safety -

Recognize importance of proper food and beverage handling techniques related to food-borne pathogens.


1. Practice personal hygiene behaviors to prevent food-borne pathogens by:

Washing hands;
Covering cough or sneeze and washing hands;
Tying hair back and avoiding touch;
Wearing clean clothes with no loose sleeves;
Using gloves if hands have open sores or cuts;
Avoiding tastes with utensils used to prepare food.
2. Describe how common mistakes in food handling promote food-borne pathogens (e.g., Salmonella, botulism, and E. coli).

3. Use safe kitchen behaviors to prevent food-borne pathogens including:

Cook foods to recommended temperatures;
Refrigerate food promptly;
Keeping hot foods hot;
Avoid eating raw foods (e.g., raw cookie dough; raw eggs; partially cooked meat, eggs,

Thaw frozen foods in refrigerator overnight or in microwave;
Wash fresh produce under running water just before using or eating;
4. Explain kitchen sanitation procedures, to prevent cross contamination and food-borne pathogens by:

Using clean utensils and containers;
Washing tops of cans;
Washing counters and cutting boards with chlorine bleach solution;
Keeping pets and insects out of the kitchen;
Cleaning as you go;
Disposing garbage properly;
Washing dishcloths and sponges daily.

Introductory Benchmark B: Identify thoughtful, ethical, and workable individual actions that ensure adequate, secure food supplies for individuals and families.


1. Select foods from a limited set of food choices to:

Give an example of nutritionally dense foods (e.g., raw vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean proteins)
Explore individual daily dietary requirements (e.g., related to age, caloric intake, exercise, special food needs, cultural differences).
2. Determine whether school wellness program provides students with foods that meet dietary requirements.
3. Determine if school wellness program suits the diverse school population.
4. Identify common food allergies and sensitivities (e.g., seafood, wheat, nuts, lactose, eggs).
5. Monitor labels to help individuals avoid allergenic foods (e.g., seafood, wheat, nuts, lactose, eggs).


1. Give examples of renewable and non-renewable resources related to food and food packaging.
2. Understand what food preparation practices help sustain the environment including:
Separate trash into renewable and non-renewable categories before discarding;
Keep range top burners and reflectors clean;
Run dishwasher only when full;
Avoid preheating oven except for baking;
Cover pan when boiling water;
Match pan size to heating element;
Watch the timer rather than open the oven door.
3. Recognize why food preparation practices can sustain the environment.

Demonstrate safe food-handling practices related to food-borne pathogens.


1. Interpret high-risk food situations related to immune-compromised individuals (e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [AIDS] patients, infants, pregnant women, diabetics).

2. Model personal hygiene behaviors to prevent food-borne pathogens by:

Washing hands;
Covering cough or sneeze and washing hands;
Using gloves if open sore or cuts;
Avoiding tastes with utensils used to prepare food.
3. Model safe kitchen behaviors to avoid food-borne pathogens including:

Cook foods to recommended temperatures;
Wash fresh produce;
Refrigerate food promptly;
Keep hot foods hot;
Use thermometer when cooking;
Avoid eating raw food (e.g., raw cookie dough; raw eggs; partially cooked meat, eggs, fish);
Thaw frozen foods in refrigerator overnight or in microwave;
Clean refrigerator (e.g., prevent Listeria);
Wash fresh produce before using or eating.
4. Demonstrate kitchen sanitation when handling food, to prevent cross contamination and food-borne pathogens by:

Using clean utensils and containers;
Washing tops of cans;
Washing counters and cutting boards with chlorine bleach solution;
Keeping pets and insects out of the kitchen;
Disposing garbage properly;
Washing dishcloths and sponges daily.
Examine the effects that food-borne pathogens have on the body.

Correlated Science Academic Content Benchmark

Explain how processes at the cellular level affect the functions and characteristics of an organism. (Life Sciences A, 11-12)

Intermediate Benchmark B: Use critical thinking and reasoning to engage available resources and ensure an adequate, secure food supply.


1. Plan budgeted meals that consider secure food supply concerns including:

Use nutritionally dense foods (e.g., raw vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean proteins);
Meet individual daily dietary requirements (e.g., related to age, caloric intake, exercise, special food needs, cultural differences).
Use cost comparison strategies (e.g., generic vs. brand, coupons);
Explore use of local food pantries and food or soup kitchens (e.g., government agencies, school meal programs, available storage environments [no refrigeration, cooking facilities]).
2. Identify regulating agencies at the local, state, and federal levels responsible for insuring a secure food supply.

3. Examine how individuals and government agencies regulate food safety to protect citizens considering:

Food traceability, food supply security, and imported and exported food safety;
Federal, community, and household methods to protect and cope with bio-terrorism;
Government regulatory role for efficacy (e.g., of foods, vitamins, herbs, other nutritional supplements);
Government regulatory role for food product safety related to quality and wholesomeness; food inspections; and food cultivation, processing, packaging and labeling.
4. Identify action plan that considers differing points of view related to:

Safe and sustainable food public policy issues;
Safe imported foods;
Genetically modified food, herbs and supplements;
School food programs;
Local wellness policies;
Organic foods;
Antibiotic use in food stock animals.
5. Identify reliable resources of food safety information to inform families making decisions related to providing safe, secure food supplies.

6. Use reliable resource criteria related to food safety information including:

Credentialed authors;
Up-to-date, unbiased information without conflict of interest;
Validated information from more than one source;
Information based on reliable research procedures.
7. Accommodate food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities by recommending dietary alternatives (e.g., to seafood, wheat, nuts, beans, lactose, eggs).

8. Examine food safety technologies (e.g., irradiation processes, organic production, additives, preservatives).

Correlated English Language Arts Academic Content Benchmarks

Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing). (Reading Process B, 8-10; Reading Process B, 11-12)
Compile, organize and evaluate information, take notes and summarize findings. (Research B, 11-12)
Evaluate the usefulness and credibility of data and sources and synthesize information from multiple sources. (Research C, 11-12)

Correlated Mathematics Academic Content Benchmarks

Estimate, compute and solve problems involving real numbers, including ratio, proportion and percent, and explain solutions. (Number, Number Sense and Operations G, 8-10)
Apply mathematical knowledge and skills routinely in other content areas and practical situations. (Mathematical Processes B, 8-10)
Locate and interpret mathematical information accurately, and communicate ideas, processes and solutions in a complete and easily understood manner. (Mathematical Processes H, 8-10)
Assess the adequacy and reliability of information available to solve a problem. (Mathematical Processes C, 11-12)

Correlated Social Studies Academic Content Benchmarks

Evaluate, take and defend positions about issues concerning the alignment of the characteristics of American democracy with realities in the United States today. (Government A, 11-12)
Critique data and information to determine the adequacy of support for conclusions. (Social Studies Skills and Methods B, 11-12)

Intermediate Benchmark C: Apply kitchen practices that sustain the environment.


1. Give multiple examples of renewable and non-renewable resource practices related to food and food packaging waste.
2. When purchasing, storing and preparing foods, use renewable and non-renewable resource practices to sustain the environment by such practices as:

Avoid letting water run;
Separate trash recyclables and garbage;
Choose recyclables when possible;
Buy in bulk;
Avoid double wrapping;
Keep range top burners and reflectors clean;
Run dishwasher only when full;
Avoid preheating oven except for baking;
Cool leftovers before refrigerating;
Cover pan when boiling water;
Match pan size to heating element;
Eliminate disposable products like Styrofoam™ and plastic;
Use timer rather than open the oven door.
3. Explain the impact of resource-conserving practices for sustaining the environment.


Kids and Healthy Lifestyles

Run, Jump, And . . . Eat Vegetables!

With childhood obesity affecting one in five children, camps play a vital role in turning back this national trend. Camps are important partners for parents and children who want to make positive changes that keep kids active and eating right all year long.

The Culprits

Health professionals agree that numerous environmental and social factors are at play when it comes to the eating and exercise behaviors of young people. The era of “walking uphill two miles to school every day” is long-gone for most kids, and with the availability of buses and carpools, most children no longer walk to school. Playing outside is also decreasing with children spending much more time indoors than children ten or twenty years ago.

It’s no surprise to concerned parents that many children spend too much time with inactive technology, devoting as much as three to five hours a day to TV or computer-related entertainment. Almost everyone is familiar with the Food Guide Pyramid, but not many people are as familiar with the Physical Activity Pyramid. According to the Council for Physical Education for Children, sixty minutes is the minimum amount of physical activity recommended for children. Ideally, children should engage in flexibility games and exercises as well as muscular fitness activities at least three times a week, have active aerobics, active sports and recreation activities be a part of each day’s activities, and gather many of the sixty minutes of moderate and vigorous activities from outside play, games, walking, and other physical exercise. Camps offer an optimal environment to encourage varying levels of physical challenges, teach lifelong active recreational pursuits, and establish opportunities to learn active lifestyle behaviors.

A Healthy Attitude at Camp

Camps and their staffs make sure that camp programs offer opportunities for healthy and active living. If children begin to change some of their food and activity habits at camp, they might be able to transfer some of these behaviors when they return home.

How do camps help? For starters, camps continue doing what they do best, which is focusing on the positive development of children. Camp is, after all, for kids.

• Camps can help children learn to like foods that are good for them by presenting good choices in a fun, safe environment.

• Camps can provide older children and young adults as mentors for the children, to support positive, healthy

• Camps can teach children that physical exercise is fun and can be an activity of choice over television and video games.

• Camp environments can become the safest activity-oriented learning center outside the school system by working in
tandem with education and nutrition.

Food and Nutrition at Camp

Many camps look for innovative, fun, tasty ways to provide healthy choices and decision-making skills to their campers.

The following list includes some “tried-and-true” techniques found at camps:

• Teach children to alter food preferences by giving
them good choices

• Offer taste tests, expose children to new foods

• Encourage eating breakfast

• Offer new exercise/activity programs

• Reduce “fast food” and junk food for snacks and side
dishes (chips, cookies, candy, etc.), provide healthy
options at the snack bar or camp store

• Educate children about healthy eating and knowing
when to stop eating

Physical Activity at Camp

Most camp programs are synonymous with activity from walking to field games, and the best camps challenge themselves every year by offering fresh activities to draw in new campers and excite returning campers.

What works

• Physical fitness fun with contests and games

• Active role models at camp

• Physical activity that doesn’t require lots of equipment

• Activity teams or “walking buddies” programs

• Positive feedback on the process of doing your best, emphasizing participation rather than winning or being the best

• A wide variety of new and traditional activities, sports, and games

• Focus on fun and gaining a healthier lifestyle

Social Support

If young people see peers and adults they admire, like their counselors and other campers, engaged in enjoyable active pursuits, they will likely want to model a similar behavior. If your child’s favorite counselor routinely engages in games, swimming, hiking, and other enjoyable activities, it’s easy to imagine that your child will follow suit. In the company of new and old friends, these new adventures, as well as the shared, nutritious meals are simply more rewarding.

Camps can play a vital role in contributing to lifelong patterns of exercise and excellent nutrition. Camp is a great place to offer good food, great activities, a positive environment, safe and secure location, and most of all, fun.


Executive Summary
Chapter 1: Obesity – a growing problem

Obesity is having excessive body-fat to the point where health is endangered. The condition is spreading rapidly among the population both in England and worldwide – a trend that amounts to a public-health timebomb. Obesity results from an imbalance between diet and physical activity, and it can be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle. In Kent and Medway, obesity is more prevalent than in the South East as a whole; but it is only marginally more prevalent in Kent and Medway than it is across England as a whole.

Chapter 2: Public-health goals

Central government has recognised the importance of obesity as a public-health issue and has set targets relating to obesity, diet and exercise. These national targets are reflected in the Kent Agreement, which also contains ambitious local targets.

Chapter 3: Partnership working to tackle obesity in Kent

There is significant scope for local government, together with partners (including the National Health Service), to promote and encourage healthy lifestyles in a whole range of ways. Planning of the built environment must contribute to facilitating exercise and the availability of healthier food choices. The role of local authorities in respect of business and consumer-protection must include aiding healthier food choices. Services for children and families must help foster healthy lifestyles. Provision of Adult Services must take account of clients’ need for healthy lifestyles. The education sector must inform and assist students in making healthy lifestyle choices. Leisure and recreation facilities are vital ways of facilitating physical activity. Planning of transport, highways and streets must take account of the need to facilitate healthier modes of transport. Everyday exercise, as part of people’s ordinary working and domestic routines, must be encouraged. Referral by primary-care practitioners to exercise and weight-loss programmes must be facilitated. In all these areas, there is already much good work going on in Kent that can be shared and emulated.

Chapter 4: Strategic leadership

Tackling obesity in Kent requires strong strategic leadership. Despite commendable work in the formulation by Primary Care Trusts of local obesity strategies, and the formation of an Obesity Sub-Committee of the Kent Public Health Network, the National Health Service has not given a county-wide strategic lead. Kent County Council’s recently-formed Department of Public Health, working in partnership with the National Health Service, should be seeking to give such strategic leadership. The government envisages an important public-health leadership role for Local Strategic Partnerships, but their structure and their funding will need to change if they are to play such a part.

Chapter 5: Healthier workplaces in Kent

Employers have a responsibility to facilitate and promote healthier lifestyles among their staff. There is a sound business case for doing so, since a healthy workforce tends to be more productive. The public sector, including the National Health Service and local government, has a duty to set an example. There are examples of good practice within Kent County Council and these deserve to be copied both within the County Council and further afield.

Chapter 6: Obstacles to physical activity

Among the general public, significant perceived obstacles to physical activity include lack of time, cost, difficulty of accessing facilities, childcare arrangements and poor health or disability. There are specific issues regarding obstacles to physical activity on the part of black and minority ethnic groups, people with mental-health issues and people with disabilities. All of these can be, and in some cases are already being, addressed by culturally sensitive and otherwise appropriate approaches to delivering services and undertaking initiatives.

Chapter 7: Funding sources

Financial allocations to Primary Care Trusts for public-health purposes, under the Choosing Health White Paper, are not ring-fenced. Consequently, in the current climate of shortfalls and financial instability within the NHS, these sums are being used to bridge gaps in Primary Care Trusts' finances. Funding is available from a range of sources, including the European Union and the Big Lottery Fund, for community projects relating to healthy lifestyles.

Chapter 8: Measuring the effectiveness of public-health interventions

In the context of concerns about the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of public-health interventions, the Department of Health is seeking to develop a model of health-promotion based on the concept of “Social Marketing”. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended the use of brief interventions with individuals in primary care to encourage physical activity.


Inspectors should assess how well pupils develop a basic knowledge and understanding of health issues and apply this knowledge in their own lives. The evidence collected to help inspectors reach this judgement may also help inspectors in judging other outcomes, aspects of provision and leadership and management. For example, if a particular group of pupils does not understand health issues or shows great reluctance in applying their knowledge positively, inspectors will also need to consider the impact of this on care, guidance and support and on the school’s promotion of equality of opportunity. Inspectors are not expected to judge whether pupils are healthy.
General guidance
Most schools promote healthy living, partly, through their personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education programmes but also through curriculum areas including physical education, science and design technology. Information from these, and where relevant, other areas, about the impact of the provision on pupils’ understanding of health issues and the impact on their lifestyles may provide useful evidence for inspectors. For example, observations of physical education lessons will provide an insight into the participation rates and quality of physical activity undertaken by pupils; scrutiny of science books may provide evidence on what the pupils know and understand about the impact of smoking on health; scrutiny of work in design and technology1 may provide evidence of pupils’ understanding of healthy eating options.
Where inspectors judge that pupils’ outcomes in respect to healthy lifestyles are in response to the school’s provision, this will be reflected in their judgements about the effectiveness of that provision. For example, where there are too few pupils or specific groups of pupils participating in physical activity or where pupils do not understand the health risks posed by substance abuse, this evidence will help inspectors reach their judgement not only on the extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles but also on the quality of the curriculum and of care guidance and support.
Important sources of evidence for the judgement about the extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles, are Ofsted’s pupils’ and parents’ surveys, carried out when the school has been notified of the inspection. These provide a general view of whether or not pupils are encouraged to adopt healthy active lifestyles. Inspectors can also investigate whether the school itself consults pupils, parents, staff and governors about health issues, particularly in relation to developing and applying policies and programmes for sex and relationships education (SRE) and drug, alcohol and tobacco education (DATE). Evidence about such consultation, which may be indicated in the self-evaluation form (SEF) and followed up through discussions with staff and pupils, may also contribute to judgements about the extent to which pupils contribute to the school community and how well the school engages with parents.
Potential areas for investigation
The uptake of school meals: Inspectors should note the uptake of school meals, which are based on national nutrition standards2, and discuss this in the context of the school. The government targets and national figures for the uptake of school meals are available in separate guidance.
Questions that might be asked are whether pupils and parents follow any guidance given about packed lunches and about what food and drink should be brought into school. Inspectors should not examine the contents of packed lunches but may wish to discuss this informally with pupils who bring them to school.
Pupils’ choice of food: An important aspect of pupils’ adoption of a healthy lifestyle is their choice of food. In considering school meals uptake and other healthy eating choices inspectors should be mindful of the choices that parents make for their children’s food, both in school and at other times. Inspectors can consider whether pupils are aware of the potential positive and negative consequences of different foods and eating patterns. Inspectors will want to investigate whether pupils make healthy choices from the range of food and drink, including school lunches, provided in the school. This includes food and drink sold or provided as snacks and those choices provided by vending machines in the school.
Physical activity: Inspectors will want to find out what proportion of pupils undertakes high quality physical education each week, given the government’s PSA target for two hours physical education and school sport for all 5-16 year olds. The national figures are provided in separate guidance. Inspectors will also find it helpful to ask what proportion of the pupils takes part in five hours of physical education and school sport each week (as set out in the physical education and school sports strategy for young people).
The following are examples of further questions which inspectors may find helpful with regard to pupils’ adoption of physically healthy lifestyles.
Do pupils understand that physical activity, together with a healthy diet, can help them feel healthier and may help them cope with stress?
What are the take-up rates, for all groups of pupils, for activities that promote physical activity?
Where appropriate, what proportion of pupils walk or ride safely to school?
Are pupils:
able to work and play in an appropriate environment with regard to, for example, comfortable levels of light and temperature in classrooms
required to carry heavy bags unnecessarily
able to use furniture, equipment including physical education apparatus which are appropriate to their age and stage of physical development to enable them to avoid physical discomfort such as back pain?

Sex and relationships related issues: Inspectors will want to investigate pupils’ understanding and knowledge of issues, relevant to their age, pertaining to sex and relationships. Secondary school pupils should be aware of the dangers of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and auto-immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Inspectors should also consider pupils’ knowledge and understanding in these areas in the context of the approach to SRE taken by the school. This is because governing bodies have the right to determine their school’s approach to SRE, to ensure that this can be delivered in line with the context, values and ethos of the school.
Pupils’ mental and emotional health: Inspectors are not required to determine the state of the pupils’ mental and emotional health. However inspectors can, through discussion with pupils, ascertain their understanding of the factors which may damage these aspects of their health and those which can bring about improvements. For example, inspectors may investigate whether pupils, relevant to their age and cognitive ability, are able to recognise the signs of stress and mental ill health and act on them either through preventative measures or accessing confidential advice and support. Inspectors should be mindful of the links between evidence which may be relevant to pupils’ safety and behaviour, such as that on bullying, which may also have an impact on pupils’ mental and emotional health.
Inspectors might also consider how well pupils respond to the school’s use of social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) materials to develop pupils’ social and emotional understanding and skills. Many schools have records and analysis of the impact of SEAL on both groups of pupils and individuals.
Pupils with medical needs: Many schools accommodate pupils with significant medical needs such as diabetes. Inspectors will need to consider whether these pupils, in the context of their particular needs, understand the factors that impact on their health and can apply them to their lifestyle. This may contribute to the evidence in a case study of one or more potentially vulnerable pupils and will also provide some insight into the school’s care, guidance and support arrangements.
Awards: Schools are often keen to present evidence of the Healthy Schools Award and/or Activemark. Inspectors can consider this evidence for indications of positive outcomes and pupil participation.


Obesity is widely recognized as one of the most pressing health threats to children and families across the country. Today, one-third of American children and adolescents are either obese or at risk of becoming obese.1 There are serious health implications associated with obesity for children, including increased risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, orthopedic problems, and asthma.2

When ethnicity and income are considered, the picture is even more troubling. African-American and Hispanic families have the greatest risk for overweight and obesity, and youngsters from lower-income families have a higher risk for obesity than those from higher-income families. More than 40 percent of African-American teenagers are overweight, and nearly 25 percent are obese.3 Hispanic children have the highest lifetime risk of diabetes (52 percent for boys, 45 percent for girls), followed closely by African-American children (49 percent for boys, 40 percent for girls). 4

As the debate over how to address the rising childhood obesity epidemic continues, it is especially important to explore how attitudes, environmental factors, and policies influence children’s health in these most vulnerable populations. For this reason, The HSC Foundation, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, conducted a community-based research initiative with Latino and African-American parents and adolescents living in households in the Washington metropolitan area with annual incomes under $30,000.

Researchers interviewed the participants to learn more about their attitudes regarding health and obesity, current lifestyle behaviors, and sources of information about health-related topics. The study also assessed participants’ perceived social and cultural barriers to changing current behavior patterns and explored potential approaches for overcoming those barriers.

Through this study, researchers hoped to identify messages and methods that would most effectively motivate these families to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles. By gaining a clear understanding of how to effectively communicate with lower-income Latino and African-American families about childhood obesity and its associated health risks, results of this study can help to inform messaging, programs, and policies created to address the epidemic.

Defining a Healthy Lifestyle
Understanding issues that affect lower-income African-American and Latino families on a daily basis provides critical insight about their priorities, concerns, and lifestyle behaviors. It is important for public health officials and policy-makers to consider these issues when developing messages, strategies, and interventions aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles among these populations. In effort to assess participants’ priorities, researchers asked them to identify and rank their most pressing issues, to describe how their communities shape their lives, and to define what a healthy lifestyle means to them.

Most parents listed unemployment, limited finances, safety, education, immigration, language barriers, and spirituality as their top concerns. Many parents admitted that they might not have identified nutrition and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle if researchers had not prompted them to discuss it.

Parents commonly described healthy children as well-adjusted socially and emotionally. According to one parent, “A healthy child loves to play, loves to laugh, likes to interact with other kids and has good manners.” Latino parents typically associated a child’s weight with overall health. As long as children did not look too thin or too fat, they were considered healthy. Some Latino parents were more inclined to worry about thin children, and one commented, “We believe that if the child is fat or plump, he is well.”

In contrast, teenagers’ perceptions of a healthy lifestyle emphasized personal behaviors, such as making healthy food choices, engaging in physical activity, and avoiding smoking, alcohol and unprotected sex. Teens typically discussed activities and habits that should be avoided in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When prompted, most respondents acknowledged the importance of healthy food choices and regular physical activity as elements of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Although parents and teenagers generally recognize these as key components of a healthy lifestyle, they believe that time constraints, environmental barriers, and limited resources often hinder their efforts. For example, many parents know that offering nutritious foods will help keep their children healthy, but they’re too tired at the end of a busy day to prepare healthy meals, they’re frustrated because they have limited access to supermarkets, and they have little control over what their children eat at school.

Messages about preventing childhood obesity that are developed for lower-income African-American and Latino families must be sensitive to their central concerns and existing barriers discussed during these interviews. Generic public health messages about overweight and obesity do not appear to resonate with these communities. Understanding that competing issues related to daily survival often outweigh the importance of being overweight or obese will help inform efforts to promote healthier lifestyles among these communities.

Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors
Assessing respondents’ current health-related behaviors is one way to evaluate their knowledge of behaviors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. It also helps to determine specific guidelines and activities parents and teens are willing to follow. This practical information will help public health officials promote effective messages, strategies, and programs that encourage lower-income African-American and Latino families to engage in healthier behaviors.

Researchers asked parents and teens to describe a typical day, including the factors that most influence their diets and levels of physical activity. In addition, participants were prompted to describe personal and environmental obstacles that prevented them from engaging in healthier behaviors. Lastly, respondents were asked to rank a number of physical activities and eating habits they would be willing to try in order to improve their family’s health.

When asked to rate how healthy a typical day was, most parents and teens declared fairly low scores. For African-American parents, lack of physical activity was a contributing factor. Lack of physical activity was also a factor for Latino parents, but they also expressed concern for limited control over food selection, especially for their children. Teens reported low scores and acknowledged that they did not regularly consume a healthy diet. Both African-American and Latino teens emphasized that most of their meals were eaten outside of home and expressed dissatisfaction with the quality and choices of foods offered at school.

Parents indicated that family income was the most important factor that influences food purchases. Many parents reported the need to “stretch their dollars” and carefully plan their shopping according to prices and weekly grocery store promotions. Children’s food preferences were another important influence—parents did not want to waste money on foods that their children refuse to eat.

Parents and teens both reported that physical activity can help them to feel relaxed, relieve stress, and improve self-esteem. Although the respondents recognized these benefits, many indicated that time constraints and environmental barriers prevented them from engaging in regular physical activity. Safety was a strong concern among African-American and Latino parents, while teens cited time constraints as a major obstacle.

When presented with suggestions for how to increase physical activity and improve eating habits, respondents had positive reactions to the following ideas: participating in an exercise or dance class, starting a walk-to-school program, taking a cooking class, enrolling children in a sports program, and starting a group to lobby local officials for more recreational facilities. While parents and teens were generally supportive of these ideas, many also indicated that time and financial constraints may prevent them from taking advantage of these opportunities.

African-American and Latino respondents believe that physical activity and healthy eating are important, but indicate that significant environmental barriers make it difficult for them to sustain healthy behaviors. Jurisdictions need to be held accountable for providing clean, safe recreational spaces, and for addressing the fears of crime that may restrict outdoor activity. Communities also should work to leverage and expand existing resources available through schools, recreational facilities, and local businesses. For example, improving school nutrition policies, offering free health education workshops and exercise classes for residents, or supporting farmers’ markets would increase the availability of affordable nutritious foods and create more opportunities for physical activity. Messages and interventions aimed at reducing childhood obesity should integrate culturally relevant suggestions and must be sensitive to families with limited resources.

Perceptions of Overweight and Obesity
Understanding how African-American and Latino parents and teens perceive the terms “overweight” and “obesity” can greatly impact how information about the associated health risks is communicated to families. As part of the interview process, parents and teens were asked a range of questions to help researchers gain insights into their attitudes, beliefs, and concerns regarding overweight and obesity. Participants were asked to define overweight and obesity, identify concerns they might have about the issue, and describe any family discussions surrounding overweight or obesity.

Several themes emerged from the parent discussion groups. Parents agreed that being overweight was associated with unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity and that being obese was associated with the most extensive health problems and the greatest physical limitations. Few participants were knowledgeable about the scientific distinctions between overweight and obesity or the body mass index screening tool. Researchers found that language barriers made understanding the distinctions especially challenging for Latino respondents.

Most participating parents blamed parents of overweight children for overfeeding their children or not providing healthy foods at home—yet many participants also admitted telling their own children that being overweight was hereditary and beyond their control. Nearly all of the parents expressed concern for chronic diseases, low self-esteem, and poor body image among overweight children. They also reported unsuccessful attempts at discussing issues of weight, diet, and physical activity with their own children.
For teens, being overweight wa associated with unhealthy eating behaviors and health problems. Some of their most common concerns regarding overweight and obesity included poor health, physical limitations, and appearance. Teens also shared specific beliefs about how race influences obesity in their communities. For example, one perception was that African-Americans have less healthy eating habits than do Caucasians, because of limited financial resources and fewer food choices. Male Latinos expressed the belief that Caucasians are more concerned with being overweight than are Latinos or African-Americans.

Most participants commonly define overweight and obesity on a case-by-case basis—dependent mostly on individual appearance rather than scientifically accepted weight categories. This may indicate an inability to accurately identify personal weight status or the weight status of their children, and should be considered when developing messages and resources for these communities.

Participants also voiced frustration over limited resources and community support. Both African-American and Latino parents say limited access to fresh nutritious foods and safe places to play in their communities make it difficult for parents to encourage their children to eat well and be active. Like their parents, African-American and Latino teens do not believe they have support from the community to help them sustain healthy lifestyle changes. Informing political and community leaders of the issues raised during this study may facilitate more effective approaches for communicating with these most vulnerable families.

Sources of Information
In addition to discussing their beliefs regarding overweight and obesity, respondents also were asked if they seek health information, how they receive that information, and which sources they trust. Parents reported that their sources of health information include pamphlets from doctors’ offices and clinics, magazines, radio, television and the Internet. Some parents also proactively seek information from programs sponsored by Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and from local nutrition hotlines. Most parents believe that acquaintances who are making successful changes, such as losing weight, are very credible sources.

With the exception of Latina females, most teens believed they were knowledgeable about topics related to healthy lifestyles. However, many teens wanted to know more, and were especially interested in information that was specific to their personal health and weight status. Among teens, the most credible information sources included the school health program, doctors, and nutritionists.

Parents and teens alike identified a preference for a more active learning style, like show-and-tell or hands-on techniques, as opposed to simply reading. Parents and teens also agreed that messengers who are in good physical condition and had made lifestyle changes that resulted in improving their own health would most strongly motivate them to adopt healthier habits.

Delivering messages that will motivate Latino and African-American families to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles greatly depends on effective communications vehicles and messengers. According to respondents, it is important to provide engaging, hands-on learning programs that involve multiple family members. These programs could be sponsored in schools or community-based organizations, and they need to be affordable and easily accessible for both parents and children. Including strong messengers in the program, such as community members and health professionals who have succeeded in making healthy lifestyle changes is equally important.

Study findings demonstrate a clear need for a comprehensive approach to address childhood obesity among lower-income African-American and Latino families in the Washington metropolitan area. For many of these families, issues relating to daily survival such as employment, safety, limited finances, and education take priority over the issues of overweight and obesity. Messages about preventing childhood obesity must be sensitive to these concerns and aim to raise the priority of increased physical activity and good nutrition. While respondents generally acknowledged the importance of good nutrition and regular physical activity, they expressed frustration and concern over time constraints and the lack of resources and community support that would allow them to sustain healthy behaviors.

By exploring perceptions and beliefs, assessing current healthy behaviors, and determining trusted sources of health-related information, researchers gained valuable insight about how to create and deliver messages that will resonate with lower-income African-American and Latino families. Collaboration among community leaders and government, health care providers, schools, and families is also critical to helping these most vulnerable populations adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles.

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