Nutrition should be taught as a part of the health curriculum because, it is important for children to learn healthy lifestyle behaviors. Nutrition is the area of health that focuses on planning a healthful diet and includes choosing a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid, adhering to dietary guidelines, reading food labels, making food selections to reduce the risk of disease, making healthful selections when dining out, considering food safety, maintaining desirable weight, and avoiding harmful eating patterns, and recognizing eating disorders (Meeks,Hieght,Page 1996 p219). I believe that all of these different categories should be taught in the schools health education program.
Nutrition choices that children make today can dramatically affect their health and well being tomorrow. However, many of these young people are facing an unhealthy situation.
For example, eating disorders are on the rise, the rate of obesity has doubled, many childrens diets lack the recommended amounts of vital nutrients, and only 1% of children meet all of the nutrition recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid.(Teaching Adolescent Nutrition p1) This information should support the dire need for proper nutrition education in the school program today.
I think that it is important to teach this topic as early as kindergarten but, I also think that it is important to continue nutrition education throughout middle school and also throughout high school. The material that I chose to teach is geared toward the middle school aged student. I believe that it is most important to teach nutrition at this age because it is the age children/preteens begin to make their own lifestyle decisions.
Nutrition education can be integrated in other classes as well as health classes so the students do not think that nutrition education only has to do with health classes and not a mathematics class or a computer class.
Appropriate nutrition education to recipients of child and adolescent food and nutrition programs is recognized as a key factor in health promotion/chronic disease prevention. As part of any comprehensive health program, nutrition should be integrated across the curriculum, in all subject areas (McConnel,Shaw 1996 p3). Ideas for other classes integrating nutrition education into their curriculum would be:
The teacher can teach the class how to count calories, fat intake, carbohydrates, proteins. This way children can learn the importance of regulating their calorie and fat intake and utilizing the information to integrate it into their own lives. Teach the students that it is also important to count the amount of carbohydrates that they consume along with the amount of sugars that they consume also. Students can then understand that too much of something can be bad for their health,
The teacher can hand out an article on diseases linked to poor exercise and nutrition.
Then the class can participate in an open discussion. This way the students can feel open to discuss the topic in class with the teacher and their peers. They will be able to express their knowledge on the topic and learn new things as well. They can also write a poem on the nutrition and have a contest where the students will vote on the best most informative poem, and the winner will receive bonus points on the nest test/paper.
The class can learn about how food is broken down in the body and how nutritious foods can help maintain a healthy functioning body. The students can draw a diagram and map out the pathway that foods takes to go through the body.
They could learn what foods that can be eaten to prevent certain diseases, like broccoli can be a good food to eat to help prevent cancer.
The students can participate in a food pyramid relay. This way the students can learn the food pyramid while they are having fun and also they will be exercising. They will be able to categorize the food groups in an easily understandable way instead of being lectured to in class for a change.
The teacher can have the students paint or draw a picture of one food from each of the food groups. The students can draw or paint their favorite foods.
They will also get to see others peoples favorite foods so they .