STEPS to a Healthy Teen

Let’s explore a brand new curriculum designed to help teenagers be healthy.

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19  are obese. Over the past ten years obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.  The CDC also states that diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States.  Both obesity and diabetes can be prevented.

After being asked to develop a curriculum to help address these issues for teenages, Michigan 4-H has reviewed many works of literature. The group realized there is a huge lake of resources and curriculum for youth organizations to use to help address health issues with teenagers. 

With this in mind, a group of faculty and staff at Michigan State University worked together to create a curriculum that is hands-on and also addresses these specific health needs of our youth.  After two years of development and trial at pilot sites around the state, STEPS to a Healthy Teen is now available! 

Some of the activities and lessons for the Michigan State University Extension created curriculum include:

  • On the right track- Learn how to keep track of health needs and develop a personal health plan.
  • Getting a handle on nutrition- Identify main functions of major nutrients and explore empty calorie foods.
  • The balancing act- Understand portion control, learn how to create meal plans that affects growth and development.
  • Label lingo- Learn about terms used in advertising products and explore food labels.
  • Avoiding energy drinks- Understand the difference between hydration and dehydration.
  • Physical fitness options- Define intensity categories of physical activity and understand five pillars of physical fitness.
  • Healthy body image- Determine ways to have positive impacts on body image and discuss impacts of advertising messages.
  • Build a physical activity plan or fitness plan and nutrition plan- Understand the concept of SMART Goals.

Each activity includes a Teen Research (TR) Challenge take-home task. The TR challenge encourages healthier lifestyles through thought-provoking activities for teens to solve themselves or with their families.

This curriculum is for sale at the 4-H mall.  There is a facilitator’s guide and a youth notebook which can be purchase separately or together.

If you are interested in learning more about 4-H Healthy Living Programs, visit the Michigan 4-H Youth Program webpage.

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