Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors: The Heart Smart Discussion Activity


The health habits of high school students affect not only their current health but besides their future hazard for fleshiness and cardiovascular disease. 1, 2 National surveys revealed that the majority of US high school students do not consume the recommend casual amounts of fruits and vegetables or meet commend aerobic physical activity requirements. 3, 4 Almost one one-third of high school students engage in 3 or more hours per day of sedentary bodily process ( i, using computers for nonacademic purposes or watching television ). 4 The probability of students engaging in unhealthy life style behaviors and failing to follow healthy demeanor guidelines is increased when they are stressed, a coarse happening during high school. 5 Because insalubrious life style behaviors contribute to cardiovascular disease gamble, prevention efforts for high school students are vital. 1, 6 many cardiovascular gamble factors, such as fleshiness, inadequate eating habits, and inactivity, are modifiable through behavior change. Two important aspects of encourage demeanor change are ( 1 ) creating awareness of the connection between life style habits and health outcomes and ( 2 ) increasing self-efficacy for behavior change by setting accomplishable goals. 7, 8 Health education can improve students ’ wellbeing and reduce their cardiovascular risk. 9 This may be accomplished by engaging them in activities that promote goodly habits and helping them attain personal goals that are consistent with commend goodly life style guidelines. 10 The Heart Smart Discussion Activity was developed to provide information about heart health, effective nutriment, physical bodily process, and stress management. It encourages students to discuss health-related information and set accomplishable behavioral goals to improve heart health .


This action is designed for students in degree 9-12.


By the end of this moral, students will be able to :

  1. Discuss how goodly and insalubrious life style behaviors can affect their health .
  2. Discuss the benefits of and barriers to improving healthy corrode, physical activity and tension management .
  3. Develop a plan to change a personal life style behavior related to nutrition, physical activeness or stress management to decrease their heart health risk .


1.12.1 Predict how healthy behaviors can affect health status. 1.12.7 Compare and contrast the benefits of and barriers to practicing a variety of healthy behaviors. 6.12.2 Develop a plan to attain a personal health finish that addresses strengths, needs, and risks .


For teacher :

  • Teacher Guide*
  • Group Content and Participation Checklist*
  • personal Health Plan Evaluation Checklist*
  • optional : introduction ( Teacher Guide in PowerPoint format ) *
  • optional : calculator and projector for PowerPoint presentation

For each group ( 5-7 students ) :

  • student Guide*
  • action Board*
  • discussion Statements* ( )

    Table 1

    StatementAgreeDisagreeLet’s Talk
    I don’t have to worry
    about my health
    because I’m young.Adults are more likely
    to die of heart attacks
    than teenagers.One third of teenagers
    already have risk factors
    for heart disease, like
    poor fitness, high
    cholesterol, high blood
    pressure, and obesity.What things do
    teenagers do now that
    affect their health when
    they are older?
    Can you have unhealthy
    habits and still be
    I can eat whatever I
    want as long as I
    exercise.You can maintain your
    weight if you burn off
    extra calories by doing
    exercise.You still have to watch
    what you eat. Most
    people don’t know how
    much they have to
    exercise to burn off
    For example, a 150-lb.
    person has to walk for 1
    hour to burn the calories
    in a candy bar.How do teenagers
    decide what to eat?
    How do teenagers
    decide how much
    exercise they need?
    Stress can seriously
    affect my health.Being stressed makes
    you more likely to get
    sick and makes it
    harder for your body to
    For example,
    teenagers with
    constant stress have
    higher blood pressure,
    which may lead to
    heart disease.Managing stress well can
    reduce its negative
    effects on your health.
    For example, teenagers
    who meditate for 10-20
    minutes per day have
    lower blood pressure and
    heart rate.What happens to
    teenagers’ bodies when
    they get stressed?
    Does stress affect your
    Eating a doughnut for
    breakfast is better
    than skipping
    breakfast.Skipping breakfast can
    lead to obesity
    because people tend
    to overeat at the next
    meal and make poor
    food choices when
    hungry.Eating food high in sugar
    or carbohydrates, like
    doughnuts, can lead to a
    preference for sweets
    that results in weight
    problems.How does skipping
    breakfast affect the rest
    of the day?
    Why does it matter what
    you eat for breakfast?
    Restaurants serve
    more food than I need
    to eat in one meal.Most restaurant
    portions are 2 to 8
    times bigger than
    recommended serving
    sizes.Sometimes it is OK to eat
    a large meal as long as
    you watch what you eat
    the rest of the dayWhat is a healthy
    amount of food to eat at
    one time?
    How do teenagers know
    when they have had
    enough to eat?
    It’s hard to eat
    healthy.It takes more time to
    prepare healthy food at
    home than to order
    fast food, which is
    often high in fat and
    salt.Teenagers can easily
    make healthy choices,
    like drinking water
    instead of soda, eating
    more fruit and
    vegetables, and
    controlling their portion
    sizes.What does it mean to
    eat healthy?
    How can teenagers
    make healthy food
    choices away from
    Only big lifestyle
    changes can improve
    heart health for
    teenagers.A big change, like
    running for 1 hour
    every day, will lower
    weight.A small change, like
    cutting out a can of
    regular soda a day, will
    lower your weight by
    almost 15 pounds a year
    and lower your risk of
    heart disease.What is an example of a
    specific change
    teenagers could make
    to be healthier?
    It is only worth
    exercising if you do it
    for at least 30 minutes
    at time.Sports and aerobic
    exercise classes
    usually last longer than
    30 minutes.Exercising for 10
    minutes, 3 times a day, is
    as good as exercising for
    30 minutes at a time.What is the minimum
    amount of time that
    teenagers should
    exercise at one time to
    be heart healthy?
    Computers, TVs, and
    cell phones make it
    easy to be unhealthy.Activities, like watching
    TV, social networking,
    and playing video
    games, leave less time
    for a healthy, active
    lifestyle.Playing the Wii™,
    exercising to videos, and
    listening to mp3 players
    during workouts help
    people to be active.How do electronic
    gadgets influence
    physical activity and
    My lifestyle habits are
    not as important to
    my health as my
    family history of heart
    disease.Teenagers who have a
    family history of heart
    disease, diabetes, or
    high blood pressure
    have a higher risk of
    developing heart
    disease.Lifestyle habits, like
    eating fast food and
    being inactive, increase
    risk of diabetes, high
    blood pressure, and
    heart disease for
    everyone.What lifestyle habits
    affect teenagers’
    How does family history
    affect teenagers’
    Teenagers eat more
    when stressed, bored,
    or watching TV.Television is a
    distraction. Teenagers
    often overeat when
    they are distracted.Some teenagers eat less
    or skip meals when they
    are stressed or in a bad
    mood.How do your eating
    habits change when you
    are stressed, bored, or
    watching TV?
    It is better to eat six
    small meals per day
    than three large
    meals.Eating several small
    meals a day controls
    hunger, maintains
    energy, and helps
    teenagers to stay
    active.Even small meals can be
    high in calories, and
    teenagers are likely to
    overeat if they are eating
    several times a day.How often do teenagers
    usually eat?Open in a separate window

  • Agree, Disagree and Let ’ s Talk Cards* ( )
  • public opinion Record Sheet*

For each student :

  • Heart Token*
  • pencil
  • Two index cards
  • Worksheet* ( )An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is nihms-406479-f0001.jpgOpen in a separate window

*Download from hypertext transfer protocol : //


Setup ( )

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is nihms-406479-f0002.jpgOpen in a separate window Place the Discussion Statements on the action board in decree ( count english up ) from # 1 ( exceed card ) to # 12 ( bottom card ). Put the Agree, Disagree, and Let ’ s Talk cards in order ( number english up ) from # 1 ( lead wag ) to # 12 ( buttocks card ), and place each push-down storage on the board. Place the opinion Record and Student Guide beside the board. divide students into groups of 5-7, asking each group to sit around an activity board. then lead each group to select students for the play along roles : 1 ) read keeper who uses the Opinion Record Sheet to record the concluding total of students who agree or disagree with each statement ; and 2 ) facilitator who keeps the group on track and promotes discussion. To confirm that roles have been chosen, ask all record keepers to raise their hands and then do the same for the facilitators. Direct each student to take a heart token .

Procedure (40–50 minutes)

Introduce the Heart Smart Discussion Activity by using the PowerPoint presentation to review “ storm ” facts related to physical activity, nutrition, stress, and heart health ( e.g. “ excessively a lot stress can damage your heart and rake vessels over meter ” ), or read them loudly from the back of the Teacher Guide. As the facts are being reviewed, ask for students ’ comments. This serves to prime the activity. tell students that the goals are to ( 1 ) “ think and talk about your health ” and ( 2 ) “ decide what you can do for a healthier center. ” Review the rules of the activeness :

  • A scholar reads aloud the Discussion Statement. ( Students take turns reading the other statements. )
  • Students place their kernel token on the “ agree ” or “ disagree ” side of the board and state why they made that option .
  • Students take turns reading aloud the Agree card that lists facts supporting the Discussion Statement and the Disagree calling card that list facts opposing the Discussion Statement. The students can use both sets of facts to facilitate their discussion .
  • The facilitator asks the question ( s ) on the Let ’ s Talk card to encourage far discussion .
  • After the discussion, the facilitator asks if anyone has had a change of heart ( change of opinion ). If so, these students then move their heart tokens to the other side .
  • Record custodian records on the opinion Record how many students agree or disagree with each affirmation by counting the phone number of heart tokens on each side .
  • Students retrieve a heart token for the following polish .
  • All used cards are placed at the bottom of each stack before going to the future Discussion Statement .
  • repeat steps 1-8 until all Discussion Statements have been discussed and opinions recorded or until meter runs out .

Guide the students through the first round. After that orotund, circulate around the room to keep students on job, answer questions, and correct misinformation in student-led discussions. If desired, complete the Group Content and Participation Checklist for each group. Each round should final no more than 5 minutes, but groups may progress according to their needs. Encourage groups to vote and move on if they are discussing a statement for excessively long or lagging importantly behind the others. Groups do not need to complete all twelve rounds. As the natural process comes to an end, provide a five-minute bespeak to alert groups to finish their concluding discussion .

Make a Plan (5–10 minutes)

close the discussion bodily process by encouraging students to think about goodly behaviors they already exercise, and behaviors that need improvement. Distribute pencils, index cards, and Worksheets. Ask students to complete section 1 of the Worksheet ( ) to develop a plan to change one life style behavior related to nutrition, physical activeness or tension management to improve their heart health. Teachers may use the keep up script to aid students in developing their plans :

research shows that when you make little particular goals you are more likely to achieve them. Your plan should be challenging, but accomplishable. Choose the demeanor you want to change. It could be related to diet, physical bodily process, or stress management. Let ’ s use physical activity as an example. Be realistic. Don ’ triiodothyronine compose something unrealistic like “ I will go to the gymnasium 5 days/week for 2 hours ” when you know you don ’ t have that kind of clock. here is a more realistic example : “ I will start walking as exercise. ” Be specific. Don ’ thymine write something vague like “ I want to exercise more. ” here is a specific example : “ I will start walking 30 minutes per day, 5 days per workweek. ”

ask students to write their goal on two index cards : one to keep as a reminder and one for the teacher to post, if desired, in the classroom as a prompt. ask students to share their goals within their groups. Remind students that even small changes make a remainder and encourage them to track of their progress by keeping a log of their goal activity. last, have students complete the “ What Have You Learned ? ” part of the Worksheet ( ) .


The Group Content and Participation Checklist can be used to evaluate the quality of students ’ comments and flush of participation during the discussion activeness and to assess Objectives 1 and 2. Teachers may rate the keep up items “ all ” “ some ” or “ none ” for each group : ( 1 ) students actively involved ; ( 2 ) students state reasons why they agree or disagree with each affirmation ; ( 3 ) students use personal cognition or information from sources outside of the natural process to support their opinions ; ( 4 ) students use data provided in the bodily process to support their vantage point ; ( 5 ) students are respectful when engaged in a discussion with others with an opposing vantage point ; ( 6 ) students discuss the shock of healthy and insalubrious life style behaviors on their health ; ( 7 ) students discuss the barriers to improving healthy eat, physical natural process and stress management ; ( 8 ) students discuss the benefits of improving healthy eat, physical natural process and tension management. Teachers may assess Objective 3 by using the Personal Health Plan Evaluation Checklist with section 1 of each student ’ south Worksheet ( ). The checklist is used to determine the take after : ( 1 ) Is the plan related to the selected type of behavior ? ( 2 ) Is the design realistic ( accomplishable ) ? ( 3 ) Is the plan specific ( does it have an discernible finish ) ? ( 4 ) Does the student have a scheme to overcome potential barriers ? ( 5 ) Did the student rate his/her level of confidence ? In addition, teachers can determine what students learned by reviewing section 2 of the Worksheet. ask students to keep a log of their behavior change for two weeks or longer to monitor their advancement toward their behavioral goals . Reinforce behavior change or serve with trouble solving based on students ’ advancement. If desired, delegate students to report on whether they achieved their goals, what benefits they noticed, and what prevented them from or helped them in reaching their goals. Self-monitoring is an effective means to improve the likelihood of positive demeanor change by increasing awareness. In addition, teachers may choose to pair students to provide social support and encouragement to reach their goals. Students can report on the advantages/disadvantages of having a partner to support them in the attainment of their goals. social support can aid in achieving life style goals by reducing stress and being held accountable to person else .


This project was supported by a Science Education Partnership Award ( SEPA ) Grant Number 5 R25 RR023279 from the National Center for Research Resources ( NCRR ), which is a part of the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ). The subject is entirely the duty of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NCRR or NIH .

Contributor Information

Judith R. McCalla, University of Miami Department of Psychology 5665 Ponce de Leon Blvd Coral Gables, FL 33146-0751 phone : 305-284-6778. Cheryl L. Juarez, Center for Interactive Learning Miami Science Museum Gables One Tower, Suite 720 1320 South Dixie Highway Coral Gables, FL 33146 call : 305-284-2757 gro.icsimaim @ lyrehc. Lúcia E. Williams, Miami Science Museum 3280 S. Miami Ave. Miami, FL 33129 phone : 305-646-4210 gro.icsimaim @ smailliwl.

Judy Brown, Miami Science Museum Center for Interactive Learning 1320 South Dixie Highway, Suite 720 Coral Gables, FL 33146 earphone : 305-284-2760 gro.icsimaim @ nworbaj .. Katie Chipungu, University of Miami Department of Psychology 5665 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, FL 33146-0751 ude.imaim.ysp @ ugnupihck. Patrice G. Saab, University of Miami Department of Psychology 5665 Ponce de Leon Blvd Coral Gables, FL 33146-0751 ude.imaim @ baasp .

reference :
Category : Healthy