Body Image and Weight Loss
Your body image is the way that you see yourself and how you look to others. Sometimes, your body image is positive, and sometimes, it isn't so good. Your weight, how tall or short you are, or even the way your hair looks can all be part of your body image. It is important to have a positive body image so you feel confident and good about yourself. There are many different reasons why people may not always have a good image of themselves, and it's definitely a good thing to help others feel better about how they look. Even if you're hard on yourself about how you look, the truth is that most people probably don't see you the same way you see yourself. Many people develop dangerous eating disorders that can affect their health and weight because they have a bad body image. But you can work on having a much more positive body image so you can continue to live a healthy life.
Positive vs. Negative Body Image
People with a positive body image feel OK about the way they look. From how much they weigh to the clothes they wear, those who have a positive body image are happy about how they appear to themselves and to others. While everyone certainly has doubts about themselves from time to time, those with a positive body image are confident and secure about how they look. On the other hand, people who have a negative body image are often very hard on themselves and may even say bad things about the way they look. They are usually much more shy and self-conscious and worry about how other people see them. For those who deal with a negative body image, it can be hard to feel like they fit in and to feel confident whenever they are in public. It is important to remember that no one is perfect and that each person is unique in their own way. If you are feeling bad about the way you look, there are some things you can do to change it, like losing weight or even getting a new hairstyle or clothes so you'll begin to feel better about yourself.
- Encouraging a Healthy Body Image
- Building a Healthy Body Image in Children
- Five Ways to Prevent Body Image Issues
- The Truth About Body Image
- About Body Image
Anorexia is an eating disorder that can be very dangerous. People who are dealing with anorexia tend to eat very little and may even starve themselves. Over time, the person can lose a dangerous amount of weight, and that can be very bad for their health. Some people also tend to exercise much more than normal in the hopes that they will lose weight faster. When you don't eat well, you don't get good nutrition and you can get sick. Those who have anorexia often have a very negative body image and will stop eating to try and become skinnier. Most people who deal with this problem are constantly worried about counting calories and watch every single thing that they eat. Over time, the person can become very sick, since they're not getting the nutrition they need to stay in good health. If you know someone who is dealing with anorexia, you should tell an adult so they can get them the help they need to get better.
- Important Information About Anorexia
- An Overview of Anorexia
- Eating Disorders
- Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Risks of Anorexia
- Anorexia in Children
- Eating Disorders in Children
- What Families Need to Know
- Anorexia: Questions and Answers
- Anorexia in Kids and Teens
- Warning Signs
Another eating disorder than can affect people who have a negative body image is bulimia. Much like anorexia, the person suffering from bulimia has a bad view of themselves and their weight. People who are coping with bulimia have different ways of handling their problems with body image, such as doing something called binging and purging. The person will eat a lot of unhealthy food all at once, called binging, and then they make themselves vomit the food back up, which is known as purging. When someone binges and purges too much, it can cause very serious problems like heart palpitations, dental cavities or tooth loss, rapid weight loss, and other health problems. Much like with anorexia, people with bulimia can be obsessed with how much they weigh and what they look like. It's important to know the signs and symptoms of bulimia so you can help someone you know who might be dealing with this eating disorder.
- About Bulimia
- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Bulimia
- Bulimia Fact Sheet
- The Effects of Bulimia on the Body
- Causes of Bulimia
- When to Worry About an Eating Disorder
- Bulimia in Children
- More Facts About Bulimia
- Teenage Eating Disorders
- Effective Child Therapy for Bulimia
If you have a negative body image or you know someone who does, it is important to get help with your feelings before it becomes more serious. If you already have an eating disorder, you should try to get help as soon as possible. Talk to your parents or another trusted adult about the things you are dealing with so you have someone you can confide in. There are also a lot of support groups available just for kids and teens that can help you. Getting help is the best way to prevent these problems from getting worse, so you can go on to be healthy and happy about your body image and your life.
- Family Involvement in Treatment
- A Resource for Parents (PDF)
- Supporting Adolescents With Eating Disorders
- Getting Help
- Five Ways to Promote a Positive Body Image
- Raising a Girl With a Positive Body Image
- Practical Guide for Positive Body Image
- Encouraging Healthy Body Image
- How to Help
There are a lot of places groups that can give you help if you're dealing with an eating disorder. From national organizations and medical centers to therapists and hotlines, there are places you or someone you know can go to get help with an eating disorder or a negative body image. Never be afraid to reach out and ask someone to help you: It might save your life. Whether you call a hotline or meet with a doctor, reaching out to get help is the first step toward a more positive, healthy life.
- Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness
- Binge Eating Disorder Association
- Project Heal
- The Eating Disorder Foundation
Physical Education and Children's Fitness
For generations, parents and teachers have understood that making sure kids get enough exercise is important to make sure that they stay healthy. In this day and age, when obesity is a growing problem and kids spend more time sitting instead of exercising, it is even more critical to focus on children's fitness. Physical education classes remain one of the best ways to make sure that kids stay active, and there are a variety of ways that physical education can happen, both in gym class and beyond. Learning about kids' need for regular exercise and other health topics can help kids be more aware of what they should do to improve their physical fitness.
The U.S. Department of Education has put together this list of 14 easy ways for kids to be more physically active.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers these guidelines for fitness in children and teenagers.
This is a helpful article that explains why active kids are healthier than non-active kids over the long term.
Here is a great basic introduction to why eating right and being physically fit are so important.
Consult this guide to learn about the body mass index, which is a basic measurement of health and fitness.
In addition to providing a description of teamwork and how it is learned, this resource includes many teamwork-building games for PE classes.
Have fun with this interactive challenge that can help kids get moving and get fit.
This simple guide can help anyone foster fitness in toddlers.
Eating the right fruits and vegetables is one of the keys to excellent health, and these fun activities will help kids understand that important fact.
Getting fit can be fun, as this page of fun fitness tips for kids shows.
Here are some simple ways to add activity to everyday life and improve fitness.
Combine math education with physical fitness and exercise using these fun games.
Greywolf Elementary in Washington state has provided an overview of the philosophy behind its physical education and exercise program here, which can be a useful guideline for PE teachers as they develop their own programs and goals.
By asking questions about meals, this fun activity helps kids know whether or not they are eating right.
This sample health and physical education teaching philosophy is a good guide for helping PE teachers develop their own approach to the PE classroom.
Here is an informative page about how much exercise and activity kids actually need.
This guide to creating a personal fitness plan is from a site that focuses on girls, but boys will find it useful as well.
This site has a variety of exercise ideas that are great for warming up students for other activities.
Get kids up and moving with these ideas.
Learn how to make fitness part of every day using this handy resource page.
This is a game that is great for building teamwork and communication skills, and it can be adapted for children or adults.
This resource demonstrates that in order for PE teachers to teach health and fitness responsibly, they must strive to be in good physical condition.
Here is a great summary report of a comprehensive philosophy of physical education.
This introduction to martial arts explains some of the benefits of the sport.
This guide for young women looks at the importance of nutrition in relation to sports and physical activity.
Here is a fun game that can help teach you words about exercise.
Use these eight activities to teach kids teamwork, cooperation, and how to build their own teams.
This interactive game helps kids learn about healthy food and eating.
Visit this site for a number of warm-up exercise ideas to use with students.
Click on this link for some basic guidelines for kids and weight-training exercise.
Eating Gluten-Free for Health
Certain foods contain a protein called gluten. This protein helps food keep its shape by holding it together. When consumed, it can cause complications in people with conditions such as celiac disease, which is a hereditary autoimmune disease. When a person with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, their immune response attacks and damages the small intestine. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is another gluten-related condition. After eating gluten, a person who has non-celiac gluten sensitivity may experience a number of problems, such as constipation, stomach pain, diarrhea, depression, or chronic fatigue. People with this condition do not test positive for celiac disease and do not experience the same damage to their small intestine. To prevent these problems from occurring, it is crucial that people who suffer from these conditions educate themselves so they are aware of what they can and cannot safely eat. Friends and family should also understand the problems that gluten can cause for sufferers who may at some point dine in their home.
Foods That Contain Gluten
The best way to avoid gluten is to know which foods contain it. Wheat, barley, and rye all contain gluten, and as a result, foods that are made from these ingredients do, too. It can be confusing when it comes to flour, as some wheat flours go by different names, such as spelt, kamut, semolina, and graham flour. Foods that obviously contain gluten include cereals, crackers, beer, pasta, tortillas, cookies, muffins, cakes, and bread. Items such as soups may contain gluten if they are thickened using flour. Other less obvious foods that contain gluten are gravy, certain types of hot dogs and lunch meats, salad dressing, soy sauce, and matzo. The best way to know for sure whether a food contains gluten is to carefully check the label.
Certain foods that are normally gluten-free can become contaminated by it if they come into contact with it. This is called cross-contamination or gluten contamination, and it often occurs during the processing of certain foods when the same equipment is used. When this occurs, the food can no longer be considered entirely gluten-free. Oatmeal is one food that may fall prey to gluten contamination. Oats that have been processed commercially may come into contact with gluten in other foods during the stages of production. Pure oats that have not been processed, however, are still a gluten-free food. Cross-contamination can also occur during the preparation of foods at home and at restaurants.
Alternatives to Gluten
Alternatives to gluten are foods that are made without the use of barley, rye, or wheat. These foods are labeled as "gluten-free" and meet the Food and Drug Administration's requirements that any gluten content is less than 20 parts per million. Gluten-free foods are made using substitutes such as rice, potatoes, tapioca flour, buckwheat, quinoa, arrowroot, and sorghum. Items such as pasta, bread, cereals, and even pizza crust can be made gluten-free by using these alternative ingredients. However, unless a food is labeled as 100 percent gluten-free, people should assume that an item does contain gluten.
It can be hard for people who do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to understand how difficult or frustrating it is or how gluten can affect one's health. This can make it difficult for people who do suffer from these conditions, particularly when they are first diagnosed. Additionally, people with celiac disease may have difficulty adjusting to a new way of preparing food and eating. Support groups allow people to discuss issues and experiences with others who not only sympathize with them but have experienced the same frustrations. These groups may hold events, help educate one another, or simply share tips. Support groups can be found online, or one's doctor may recommend support groups that meet in person.
- Wheat Allergy Diet
- Gluten-Free Diet (PDF)
- What I Need to Know About Celiac Disease
- Gluten and Your Health (PDF)
- Dietary Changes for Celiac Disease
- Easy Substitutes for a Gluten-Free Menu (PDF)
- FDA Defines "Gluten-Free" for Food Labels
- Celiac Support Association
- The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
- Support Groups for Celiac Disease
- Celiac Disease: What You Need to Know
- How Can I Prevent Gluten Cross-Contamination?
- Gluten-Free Diet: Avoid Gluten Contamination (PDF)
- Gluten-Free Diet Guide
- Cross-Contamination: Why it's Bad
- Common Gluten-Free Alternatives: What Are They, and How Can I Use Them? (PDF)
- Gluten-Free Diet (PDF)
- The Gluten-Free Diet: Examples (PDF)
- Cooking Gluten-Free: Recipes and Information (PDF)
- Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Gluten-Free Diets
Promoting Healthy Habits for Your Child
The human body needs nutritious food and regular exercise to maintain health. While adults might embrace this directive, kids need to learn these habits. Learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods can help kids make better nutrition choices. Both adults and children can benefit from finding ways to incorporate physical activity into a daily schedule. Developing healthy habits during childhood is important for kids' short-term well-being, and these healthy habits can have a positive impact in the long term, too. Children who exercise and eat a nutritious diet may be more likely to carry these habits over into adulthood, lessening their risk of developing serious diseases and health issues later in life.
Importance of Exercise
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, kids should be getting at least one hour of physical activity every day. This cardiovascular exercise can include any type of activity at a moderate level that elevates the heart rate. Running, jumping, brisk walking, or playing an active sport are examples of ways that children can incorporate this type of activity into a daily schedule. Exercise that builds muscle is also important for health. Participating in organized activities such as gymnastics or dance lessons would be ideal for building and using muscles. Even when kids play outdoors, they often get beneficial exercise that counts toward the one-hour minimum of daily activity. Playing tag at recess or climbing on playground equipment are examples of physical activities that raise the heart rate and use different muscle groups.
Incorporating Exercise Into a Family Lifestyle
When parents set a good example, kids may be more likely to be active, too. Scheduling family activities such as hiking, bike-riding, swimming, or even just walking the dog provides great opportunities to spend time together as a family doing physically active things. Most families probably have specific sports or activities that they enjoy. To increase a family's activity level, parents should think about the individual interests of family members. For example, a family that likes swimming or biking could begin doing these things together on a regular basis. Even excursions such as bowling, skating, or playing miniature golf can provide beneficial exercise that the whole family might enjoy. An active family can benefit not only by spending quality time together, but every member will also get exercise that's good for their health. Kids who learn that exercise is fun might also be more likely to continue to exercise throughout life.
Dangers of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has become a prevalent problem. At a national level, childhood obesity rates have tripled during the past 30 to 40 years. Several trends are likely to be contributing to increased obesity in children, such as more sedentary lifestyles and diets that contain more refined sugars and grains. Obese children are more likely to struggle with a number of issues. Emotionally and psychologically, these kids could have trouble with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Children are not immune to the physical issues of obesity, either. Some of these health problems might not occur until adulthood, but children could experience health issues such as abnormal glucose tolerance, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea. Some of these health issues were confined to adulthood in the past, but more children are now experiencing them. When obese children reach adulthood, they are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Stigmas attached to obesity could even affect learning and academic achievement for children.
Children's diets are vitally important for their immediate and long-term health. While it's typical for kids to gravitate toward the foods that taste good to them, many natural and healthy food options can also be delicious. Stocking the kitchen with healthy foods and snack items will help kids learn how to choose foods that are both satisfying and healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, low-fat cheese, whole-grain breads, and low-sugar cereals are a few staples to purchase that will likely appeal to children. Teaching kids to eat foods that are naturally the colors of the rainbow is another positive way to help incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into a family's diet. Learning how to read nutrition labels is another important skill to teach kids. Labels show the ingredients of foods as well as serving sizes, calories, and percentages of nutrients. Choosing foods with lower sugar, sodium, fat, and cholesterol often results in more nutritious eating. Eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D will also help ensure that kids' bones remain strong. Some of these foods include yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, almonds, canned tuna, and fortified cereal.
Healthy Nutrition Guide for Seniors
For many older adults, turning 50 doesn't mean slowing down; however, living an active life requires a body that is strong and in good health. Eating the right foods and getting the proper nutrition plays a large part in allowing seniors to live the life that they want. Nutrition comes in the form of vitamins and minerals that are often found in the foods that people eat on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not all foods are equally nutritious, and some can have a negative impact on one's body. Additionally, one's nutrition needs also change with age, and dietary adjustments must be made. In order to get the proper nutrition necessary for good health, it is important for seniors to understand what they need.
Malnutrition and its Effects
Failure to eat enough nutritious foods can result in a deficit of vitamins and minerals that can cause a host of problems for one's overall health. The condition of being undernourished is called malnutrition, and it is particularly problematic for seniors in terms of the health issues that it may cause and the factors that may lead up to it. Often, seniors who are suffering from malnutrition also suffer from financial issues such as having a limited income that prevents them from being able to afford the foods that are necessary for good health. They may also suffer from depression caused by grief or other factors, or they may have an illness such as dementia that can cause a lack of appetite. In terms of the health impact of malnutrition on seniors, it can cause wounds or injuries to heal more slowly, a weakness of muscles that puts them at a greater risk of falling, and increased risk of infection due to a weakened immune system. Additionally, malnutrition can lead to problems with the heart and even one's lungs.
- Senior Health: How to Prevent and Detect Malnutrition
- Food and Nutrition for Seniors
- Landon Center on Aging: Malnutrition in Older Adults
- Malnutrition and the Older Adult (PDF)
Creating a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is essential when it comes to seniors getting the nutrition that their bodies require. To be healthy, it is important to drastically reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates and processed foods as much as possible. Ideally, fruits, vegetables, and protein such as fish, chicken, nuts, beans, and eggs should be a large part of one's diet. On a daily basis, women older than 50 should eat at least a cup and a half of fruit, while two cups is recommended for men. When it comes to vegetables, women 50 years of age and older should get two cups of vegetables a day and men should eat two and a half cups. The daily recommended amount of protein for seniors is five ounces for women and five and a half ounces for men. Additionally, a healthy diet for seniors should include whole grains; foods such as dairy products, kale, and broccoli to help them get their daily 1,000 mg of calcium for men or 1,200 mg for women; and fibrous foods. Getting enough fiber is an important part of senior diets, as it aids digestion, which becomes less efficient with age. Women older than 50 should be eating 21 grams of fiber daily, while men in the same age group should get no less than 30 grams a day.
While it is important to cut unhealthy fat from one's diet, not all fats are considered bad. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. Healthy fats they can be found in nuts, avocados, salmon, and mackerel. These healthy fats can provide a source of protection against certain types of diseases.
- Senior Nutrition and Diet Tips: Eating Healthy as You Age
- Eating Healthy Is Vital to Seniors' Well-Being
- Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging
- Seniors Still Need Adequate Iron for Good Health
Take Your Vitamins
For seniors, getting the right vitamins is an important part of keeping their bodies functioning optimally. Vitamins and minerals that are especially important for people older than 50 include vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate. Both men and women should get 400 mcg of folate daily. It can be found in vegetables that are dark green and leafy and in fruits and beans. It is also known as folic acid when used to fortify cereals and flour. Vitamin B12 is found in fortified milk and cereals as well as fish and chicken, but a supplement is often necessary. People who are 50 years old or older should get 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 daily. The required amount of vitamin B6 depends on gender: Men typically require 1.7 mg on a daily basis, while women require 1.5 mg. It can be found in fortified foods and organ meats. Vitamin D comes from the sun, but the amount that one receives is usually not enough. At a minimum, 600 IU is needed for people who are between the ages of 50 and 70 years old. This rises to 800 IU for individuals older than 70. Vitamin D supplements are available, or people can get it from taking fish liver oil or eating fatty fish such as mackerel.
- Micronutrients for Older Adults
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Nutrition and Aging (PDF)
- Older Adults May Need More Vitamin D to Prevent Mobility Difficulties
It is important that seniors regularly drink fluids. Dehydration is a risk because the ability to recognize thirst is reduced with age. It is just as important that the right types of fluids are consumed for maximum benefit. Water is the ideal liquid for seniors, as it has no carbohydrates or other additives. Sipping liquid such as water throughout the day is beneficial and will help keep problems such as constipation and urinary tract infections at bay. People should drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day, but more may be necessary depending on temperatures and other factors. Juice and low-fat milk are also options, but juice should not be a sole source of liquid, as it does contain sugar. Certain fruits, such as watermelon, have a high liquid content and are an additional and refreshing way to help quench one's thirst. Sodas and alcohol add calories without any nutritional value and should be consumed sparingly.
- Water: Fountain of Life (PDF)
- Dehydration of the Elderly in Nursing Homes
- Preventing and Treating Dehydration in the Elderly During Periods of Illness and Warm Weather (PDF)
- More Than One in Three Older Americans May Not Drink Enough Water (PDF)
Healthy Eating Plans
Changing one's diet is always difficult, but it can be particularly hard to alter lifelong eating habits. Fortunately, there are many resources available for seniors who wish to turn to a healthier diet. This includes online information on diet plans such as the DASH diet. While these plans are designed to be healthy, it is important to check with a doctor before making any drastic adjustments or limitations. Doctors also have the resources to provide their patients with a more tailored eating plan that takes any health conditions into consideration.
- Eating Well as You Age
- MyPlate for Older Adults
- Eat Smart, Live Strong: Nutrition Education for Older Adults
- Healthy Eating After 50
- The DASH Diet
Kids' Guide to the Food Groups
All of the foods you eat have different ingredients, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These different foods fall into different groups. The food groups are grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, proteins and meats, and fats and oils. Scientists have created a food pyramid that includes all of the different food groups. The food groups sit on the pyramid, with the foods you should eat the most of at the bottom and the foods you should eat the least of on the top. Having a healthy body involves eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a weight that matches your height and bone size.
Grains are the food group that people need to eat the most of throughout the day. Grains can include bread, cereal, pasta, tortillas, and crackers. Whenever possible, choose whole grains for the breads, cereals, and pasta that you eat. Whole grains are less refined, which means that they have more vitamins and nutrients.
- Food Smarts: The Food Pyramid: The food pyramid includes sections for each type of food. Grains are on the bottom of the pyramid because people need the most servings of this food group.
- Nutrition From the Ground Up (PDF): This lesson plan will teach you about the different food groups. Play games to learn more about healthy eating.
- Fun Food Games to Guide Kids Toward Better Eating Habits: Eating healthy can be fun. Learn some new jump rope rhymes about healthy eating and say them as you exercise.
- Nutrition-Related Group Games: Play active games about food to learn and have fun! One game involves kids standing in a circle around one person. The person in the center chooses a food group and then points to people in the circle. The chosen kids have to name foods that belong to that food group.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables often have bright colors. Some doctors tell people to "eat the rainbow." This means that you should try to include as many different fruit and vegetable colors into your meals and snacks as possible. You might eat red strawberries, orange tangerines, yellow bananas, green peppers, blue blueberries, indigo eggplants, and violet grapes to eat a rainbow.
- Chef Solus' Fruit Group Bookmarks: Print out these bookmarks with colorful fruits and vegetables to use when reading your favorite books and remind yourself to eat plenty of fruits.
- How MyPlate Works: If you look at the MyPlate picture, you can see that fruits and vegetables should make up about half of a meal.
- Let the Pyramid Guide Your Food Choices: Everybody needs between two and four servings of fruits and three and five servings of vegetables every day.
- Suggested Servings From Each Food Group: When you eat fruits and vegetables, you can eat fresh, canned, or dried fruits. Even fruit or vegetable juice can count as a serving of fruit.
- Interactive Nutrition Games (PDF): These games will teach you about healthy foods while you play.
- Teaching Children About the Food Groups: Vegetables (PDF): This diagram shows how many parts of a vegetable plant can be good to eat, including leaves, stems, flowers, and roots.
- Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Taste-Test Ideas: You never know if you will like a food until you try it. Set up a taste-test so you can try some different fruits and vegetables that you have not tried before.
Protein foods can be both meat- and plant-based foods. Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish are good sources of protein without large amounts of fat. Beef and pork are also proteins, but sometimes these meats can have a lot of fat, so they are not as healthy for you. Eggs are another source of protein. Plant-based proteins include beans, nuts, and seeds. You might add this type of protein to a meal by eating baked beans, peanut butter, or a handful of cashews.
- 10 Tips to a Great Plate (PDF): Creating a healthy plate involves eating the right amounts of the different food groups. Protein foods should make up a little less than one-quarter of an entire meal.
- Food Groups Game: Drag foods from the top of the screen down into the correct food groups.
- Take a Trip: Food Groups: Play this food group game to learn about different healthy foods that are part of the food groups.
- Blast Off: When you play the Blast Off game, you have to choose the best foods to give you the energy you need.
- Energy Balance: Jordan and Nicola need to eat a healthy diet to have enough energy for all of their activities. Can you help them?
- The Fabulous Five Webquest: Your assignment is to figure out where the food groups fit on the food pyramid and what foods you need each day.
Dairy products include both drinks and foods. Milk is a dairy product with lots of good vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are other types of dairy products. Eating dairy products is important because these foods give you calcium that helps make your bones and teeth strong. Dairy products also contain protein to build your muscles.
- Dairy Farm: Playing Dairy Farm will teach you all about the process of taking care of cows on a farm to produce milk.
- The Amazing Food Detective: Learn about all the different foods and nutrients to see how they impact your body.
- Calcium? Got it? Get it! (PDF): This fun presentation teaches you all about the benefits of calcium and the foods you need to eat and drink to get it.
- Counting the Calcium (PDF): Use this worksheet to count the calcium you eat or drink in one day to see if you get enough of this nutrient.
- A Healthier Life: This webquest will help you examine your life to see what changes you might make to become healthier.
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils are in the tiny top of the food pyramid because these are the foods that people need to eat less often. As you choose foods from the food groups, choose foods from all of the other groups first. These are the foods that will give you vitamins and minerals for health. Once in a while, it's OK to eat something sweet. Try not to make it a habit, though, because this could make you gain weight.
- Food Hero: The Food Hero game will help you learn how to make the healthiest food choices.
- Food Balance Game: Playing this game will help you learn important tips for choosing the best foods throughout the day for good health and lots of energy.
- Best Served Cold: Lots of foods might look and taste good, but they don't have healthy ingredients. Play this game to learn how to recognize unhealthy foods.
- Grab a Grape: This fun quiz game will ask lots of food-related questions that you have to answer correctly.
- Dining Decision: Sometimes you have to choose between foods to eat, but this game will help you learn the healthiest choices.
Kids' Guide to Human Body Systems
The human body isn't just one big system, it is actually made up of many different separate systems, all working together to make sure that you, as a whole, function correctly. Each system has special parts and functions that it has to perform in order to keep you healthy and well. If any of the separate systems stops working or doesn't work like it should, the whole body will suffer. Learning about different body systems will help you know what you need to do to stay healthy and strong.
Your immune system is in charge of keeping you healthy. It guards the body to keep germs from invading. With a healthy immune system, the body will be strong enough to fight against germs and infections. If germs do get into the body, the immune system attacks them to try to keep you from getting sick. White blood cells are the attackers that find germs and work to destroy them.
- Understanding the Immune System (PDF)
- The Immune System Defends the Body (PDF)
- The Immune System and How Vaccines Work (PDF)
The human body is full of muscles. In fact, you have more than 600 different muscles throughout your body. Muscles help you move, but also have other important jobs. Your heart is a muscle, and its job is to pump blood all through your body. The body contains three different kinds of muscles - smooth, skeletal, and cardiac. The cardiac muscle is your heart muscle. Smooth muscles are the muscles that move without you telling them to move. Some of these muscles are in your digestive and urinary systems. Skeletal muscles are the muscles that you control. These are the muscles you use to run, climb, and jump.
- The Skeletal and Muscular Systems (PDF)
- The Muscular System (PDF)
- Muscular System (PDF)
- Your Muscular System (PDF)
Your digestive system is in charge of handling all the food you eat. This system is very involved, starting at your mouth and extending all the way out to the end of your large intestine. Digestion is the process of breaking down food so your body can use it for energy and nutrients. As food passes through the digestive tract, the body absorbs the nutrients it needs. Anything the body does not need is eliminated through the excretory system.
- A Journey Through the Digestive System (PDF)
- The Digestive System (PDF)
- Presenting the Digestive System (PDF)
- Learning About Our Guts is a Must (PDF)
The lungs are a big part of the respiratory system. Sitting in your chest, the rib cage covers the lungs to help keep them safe from injuries. The diaphragm sits just under the lungs, and it works with them to help you breathe air in and out of the body. When you breathe air into the lungs, tiny alveoli become full of air. The alveoli are in charge of moving oxygen from inhaled air into the bloodstream, where oxygen will reach all parts of the body. The blood also carries carbon dioxide back to the alveoli, where the lungs get rid of it when you exhale.
- The Respiratory System Webquest (PDF)
- Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems (PDF)
- The Circulatory and Respiratory System (PDF)
- Your Respiratory System (PDF)
The nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord. You could think of your brain as a powerful computer that is in charge of everything your body does, inside and outside. The brain controls all of your muscles, both voluntary and involuntary ones, to keep the body functioning. The cerebrum part of the brain is the part you use when you listen to your teachers to learn about history or science. Parts of the brain are also in charge of how you grow and even for keeping your body at the right temperature. The spinal cord has very fragile bundles of nerves running through it, which are responsible for helping you move and giving you feelings throughout your body.
- Unit 1 - The Nervous System (PDF)
- Nervous System Overview (PDF)
- The Nervous System (PDF)
- Learning About the Nervous System (PDF)
Your skeletal system is made up of all the bones in your body. Bones have several layers of tissues that work together to keep them nourished and strong. In the very center of bones, bone marrow that looks like jelly works to make new blood cells. When you were born, you had about 300 bones in your body. As you grow up, some of these bones will grow together. By the time you are an adult, you will have only 206 bones.
- Overview of the Skeletal and Muscular Systems (PDF)
- The Skeletal System (PDF)
- Bones! Bones! Bones! Exploring the Skeletal System (PDF)
- Learning About the Skeletal System (PDF)
The endocrine system is in charge of managing the chemical processes that happen in the body. Some of these processes include how you grow, your moods, and how your body uses energy. The endocrine system uses hormones to send instructions to cells. Different hormones communicate with different cells, depending on the work performed by the cells.
- An Overview of the Endocrine System (PDF)
- Learn About the Endocrine System (PDF)
- 3 Systems Working Together (PDF)
The cardiovascular system includes the circulatory system and the heart. As the heart pumps blood, the circulatory system is in charge of moving the blood throughout the body. Blood moves in blood vessels called veins, arteries, and capillaries. The blood carries oxygen to cells and tissues, and then it carries carbon dioxide and waste so the body can get rid of it.
- It Takes Heart to be a Hero (PDF)
- Heart Healthy Eating for Kids (PDF)
- The Circulatory System and the Lymphatic System (PDF)
- My Circulatory System and Keeping it Safe (PDF)
As the various systems in your body work, they produce waste. These chemicals need to be removed from the body, or they could make you very sick. The kidneys are in charge of filtering blood to remove urea, which is a waste product. After the kidneys collect the urea, they move it to the bladder for removal from the body. The intestines process food so the body can use the nutrients it needs. The parts of the food that the body doesn't need get moved through the intestines until the body excretes them.
- The Urinary System (PDF)
- Human Excretory System (PDF)
- Anatomy of the Urinary System (PDF)
- Your Kidneys
- Muscles, Bones, and Joints (PDF)
- Teaching Body Systems (PDF)
- The Immune System Study Jam
- Build-a-Body Digestive System
Compulsive Diet and Exercise
Addiction is a serious thing. It can ruin lives and the lives of loved ones. When we talk about addiction, however, we usually mean addiction to substances like drugs and alcohol. We must remember, though, that we can easily become addicted to behaviors. More accurately, we become addicted to the way these behaviors make us feel. Two of the most common behaviors to which people become addicted are exercise and dieting. We've put together something of a primer for those interested in either addiction so you can begin to understand these dangerous conditions.
Everyone knows exercise is a good thing, but then again it's common knowledge that you can have too much of a good thing. Exercising can be a great thing for your health, but exercising too much can lead to negative consequences, such as injury. Continuing to compulsively exercise despite negative consequences is a sign that someone may be addicted to medicine. The negative consequences do not have to be physical. If someone is spending too much time at the gym in such a way that it negatively impacts their family, this can also be a sign of exercise addiction. Basically, if exercising hurts more than it helps, it may be time to pursue methods of treatment for exercise addiction.
Despite the fact that exercise addiction can be rather complex and complicated, it is treated in similar ways to other behavioral disorders. If someone becomes addicted to the behavior of exercising, they can be expected to be treated in a variety of ways, including exposure and response prevention treatments, support groups, and education. Sometimes people are unaware of the negative consequences of their actions, and education is all it takes.
- About Compulsive Exercise
- Exercise Addiction 101
- Clarifying Exercise Addiction
- Exercise Addiction Signs and Symptoms
- Exercise Addiction Symptoms
- Exercise Addiction in Athletes
- When Fitness Turns into Exercise Addiction
- Clarifying Exercise Addiction
- Exercise Addiction: Healthy Habit or Obsession
- Exercise Addiction: The Eating Problems Service
- How Many CrossFitters are Addicted to Exercise?
- Exercise Addiction as a Cause of Overtraining
- Exercise Addicts Anonymous
- Exercise Addiction Treatment
- Choosing the Best Exercise Addiction Treatment
Like exercise addiction, diet addiction is considered a behavior addiction. Also like exercise addiction, it is the compulsive need to engage in a behavior despite negative physical and/or emotional consequences. Despite the fact that dieting can be a great thing for your body, it really depends on the type of diet you engage in. If that diet is simply ensuring you're eating healthy food as often as possible, this is likely a good thing you cannot be too into. There aren't negative consequences to being cognizant of your nutrition, so there's no chance of being addicted to it.
However, there are unhealthy "diets" that can be abused and can lead to unhealthy behaviors. For instance, if you become convinced that eating protein is bad for you and you dedicate yourself to a no protein diet, this can lead to negative physical consequences. It is important to be committed to leading a healthy lifestyle without being obsessed.
One of the indications that you are addicted to dieting is that your diet is becoming more and more restrictive. Diets should include many different types of food to ensure you're eating balanced meals, but often someone addicted to dieting will be more restrictive, because as the diet works, weight loss eventually slows down. When this happens, people will often identify a "culprit" for the slow down and remove it from the diet. When this happens enough, it is possible that someone becomes addicted to a diet that does not provide enough nutrition.
Another indication that you may be addicted to your diet is what happens when you're forced to go off of it. This can happen when you are, for instance, on vacation with family and are not in a situation in which you can make the same diet decisions you normally would. When this happens, someone who is addicted to dieting can get extremely anxious, when in reality the dieting decisions they are making are likely still healthy for their body. Just the fact that these decisions are not as regimented as they might be otherwise can be enough to cause severe anxiety and unhealthy behavior.
- Orthorexia, Excessive Exercise, and Nutrition
- What is Diet Addiction?
- Why Dieting Can Become Addictive
- The Food Addicts Anonymous Plan
- Dietary Addictions
- How to Avoid a Diet Pill Addiction
- Dieting Obsession and Weight Loss
- Are You Addicted to Food or Addicted to Dieting?
- Weight Loss Addiction
- Confessions of a Diet Addiction
- Teen Diet Pill Addiction
- Diet Pills Health Risks
- Diet Pills Withdrawal
- Teen Diet Pill Addiction Signs and Symptoms
- Diet Pills: Dying to be Thin
The Growing Problem of Childhood Obesity
One of the biggest health problems that are facing younger people and parents today is that of childhood obesity. In the United States, obesity for all people, affects approximately one in six adults and adolescents. This means that approximately 12.7 million people are considered obese. Obesity can be a big health problem in that it can lead to a variety of health-related issues. These issues can put people at risk for a future of poor health.
- Child Obesity Facts
- Learn the Facts
- Obesity in Children
- Facts and Figures on Childhood Obesity
- Obesity in Children and Teens
Childhood obesity can be described as those children who are above the normal weight for their height and age. If not corrected, being obese as a child can lead to further problems as an adult. If unchecked, as adults they are running the risk of having Diabetes, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, and Heart Disease. Therefore, it is important to identify the issue and begin to take steps at a young age to correct your weight.
There are many ways that people can combat the problem of obesity. Parents of children can help in several of these areas. The first is getting kids out to exercise. Sitting in front of a television, computer or game console can be a cause of obesity. Get the kids outside to play or into an organized sports activity can help in getting the children moving and towards better condition. Another way that parents can help is by monitoring the eating habits. A good, well balanced, and nutritional meal is a good start, along with limiting the between meal snacks.
For more information on the problems of childhood obesity, and how parents can help fit this problem, we have put together the following helpful web sites. Please feel free to review the information and share this article with others who may benefit from the information.
- Defining Childhood Obesity
- What is Childhood Obesity?
- Defining Overweight and Obesity in Children
- Childhood Obesity Causes & Consequences
- Common Causes of Childhood Obesity
- Obesity in Children
- Obesity Risk Factors
- What Causes Overweight and Obesity?
- Risk Factors for Obesity
- Health Risks of Childhood Obesity
- Obesity and Overweight Common Dangers
- The Dangers of Eating Fast Food
- Childhood Obesity and Effects on Mental Health
- Obesity Prevention Strategies
- Preventing Childhood Obesity
- Childhood Obesity Prevention
- Preventing Obesity in Children
- Additional Obesity Resources & Publications
- Childhood Overweight Information
- Obesity in Children
- Obesity Prevention Resources