Achieving Energy Balance Together

Byline: Jessica Donaldson 

Health education is one of those topics that we can all agree is needed. That happens in PE, right? It doesn’t have to just happen there. To be honest, it can’t continue to be treated as something that is only taught during PE.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010.” But what does that mean for these children as they get older? Children are experiencing health problems that were previously not seen until adulthood. The American Heart Association reported that obese children suffer from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, elevated blood cholesterol levels and psychological effects that include low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression…IN CHILDREN! Our students- our children need our help.

What can educators do? So glad you asked! We should do what we do best. EDUCATE.

Energy Balance: 101 is a free wellness curriculum available to educators, thanks to the Together Counts program: a partnership between Discovery Education and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. This K-5 curriculum jointly developed by Discovery Education, pediatric dietitians, and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance,provides all stakeholders with the opportunity to learn about the role energy balance can play in achieving an active, healthy lifestyle.

The first lesson in the Energy Balance: 101 curriculum, What is Energy Balance?, introduces students to the concept of energy balance. Simply put, energy balance is the balance of calories consumed with calories burned. Both lesson plans for K-2 and 3-5 are incredibly comprehensive, providing teachers with an “Instant Expert” section that helps you understand how energy balance works and why it’s important, giving you the prior knowledge you need to engage your students. Detailed instructions for various activities for your classroom are given, and materials needed are items most teachers have or can easily find within their school. For example, at the K-2 level, you’ll need bean bags, jump ropes, a balance scale…etc. You’ll also need to download and print the Energy In/Energy Out cards needed for the upper elementary lesson.

All lesson plans and worksheets can be downloaded individually, or as complete modules. At the end of the lesson, teachers can explore an extension activity, or ways to connect with families or the community. You will also find national standard correlations for every lesson.

You can download the first lesson in the curriculum directly from here if you would like to:

Download K-2 lesson

Download 3-5 lesson

Teaching our children about energy balance now can encourage them to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Together Counts makes taking the pledge to teach health education easier, thanks to Energy Balance 101. Take a look at the lesson plans on the site and let us know what you think! Talk, Tweet, and take action.

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