Introducing the concept of healthy eating is imperative to do at a young age. On both April 3rd and April 10th 2017, the Framingham State University Coordinated Program dietetic interns taught a ‘Rethink Your Drink’ lesson to each of the freshman health classes at Andover Public High School, to enhance the students’ knowledge about their beverage choices.
According to the Health Education portion of their Wellness Policy, Andover strives to “emphasize learning and practicing the skills students need for healthful living”. This lesson, presented by the interns, tested the students’ knowledge about sugar-sweetened beverages. The interns reviewed the ‘5 C’s of Sugar Sweetened Beverages’, which include increase risk for cavities, lack of content, empty calories, calcium losses and caffeine – all things that, although not ideal for health, sugar-sweetened beverages provide. Students were encouraged to think about the beverages that they drink on a daily basis and completed a label reading activity in which they looked at beverages sold in the school cafeteria and evaluated the total sugar as well as practiced converting the grams of sugar to teaspoons of sugar.
During the lesson the students also completed an activity where they had to work together to rank 8 beverages (as pictured left) in order from least sugar to most sugar. As a visual tool, the interns showed students packets of sugar strips (as pictured above) which represented the tablespoons of sugar in the beverages. None of the classes were able to correctly rank the beverages, and most students were surprised by the order.
Although the students did not enter the classroom on April 3rd and April 10th as nutrition experts, by the time the lesson was over students were made aware of the types of beverages that are typically highest in sugar. Post-evaluation quizzes were graded – 85% of the students were able to list 2 negative health effects of excess sugar consumption and throughout the presentation, as the Wellness Policy strives to do, students were “encourage[d] … to assess their personal behaviors and habits”.
For educational materials about nutrition-related health topics, visit the JSI Resource Center for lessons geared towards Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.
Submitted by: Amanda Vallee, Undergraduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics