G E M N O. 3 2 9
Jump Start Teens: Interactive, Cross-curricular Lessons for
High School Adolescents
Erika Takada, M.P.H.,* California found that there was a deﬁciency in learning to read the Nutrition
Project LEAN, Public Health Institute, nutrition and physical activity re- Facts on food labels.
601 N. 7th Street, P.O. Box 942732. sources for high school teachers to use 6. Have It Your Way Fast Food. Stu-
MS-675, Sacramento, CA 94234- with students.Therefore, the California dents learn how to make healthier
7320; Tel: (916) 445-3510; Fax: (916) Department of Education, Nutrition choices at fast-food restaurants.
445-7571; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Education and Training prog ram 7. Eating to Win. Students learn about
Cyndi Guerra-Walter, B.A., California awarded a grant to CPL to develop the common sports nutrition miscon-
Project LEAN, Public Health Institute, Jump Start Teens resource kit as one part ceptions that are targeted toward
Sacramento, CA of the FOR program. athletes and coaches, as well as
healthy pre-game eating and ﬂuid
Peggy Agron, M.A., R.D., California intake.
Project LEAN, California Department of PURPOSE 8. Making News. Students learn about
Health Services the media’s impact on consumer
Jump Start is a set of eight interactive
cross-curricular lessons. The learning behavior and how they can use it
content of the lessons is based on the as a resource to highlight their
*Author for correspondence perspectives and creative accom-
comprehensive school health princi-
ples and beneﬁts high school students plishments.
by integrating physical activity and nu- On the ﬁrst page of each lesson, in
trition into various subject areas with a sidebar, the student learning objec-
INTRODUCTION information delivered in “teenspeak” tives are listed. Also listed in that side-
and promoting active learning through bar are the approximate time needed to
Healthy eating habits and regular phys- a hands-on approach that includes teach the lesson, preparation steps, and
ical activity are essential to the health consumer and advocacy components the lesson’s cross-curricular links (e.g.,
and well-being of all adolescents. Data for media-, community-, and school-
math, physical education, journalism,
from the 1997 Youth Risk Behavior based activities involving the school, language arts, social studies) (Fig. 1).
Survey and Surveillance, however, parents, and the community. The lessons begin with a brief
showed that among high school ado- overview of the topic followed by “Ac-
lescents in California, only 32.5% were tivity Steps,” which include directions
eating ﬁve or more servings of fruits IMPLEMENTATION
and explanations for the interactive
and vegetables per day. More than one- classroom activities.The activities range
The eight Jump Start lessons are as fol-
quarter of the adolescents surveyed ate from simple introductory activities to
more than two servings of foods typi- more in-depth, challenging activities
cally high in fat during the day pre- 1. The ABC’s of Healthy Eating. Stu- that involve the acquisition of skills
ceding the survey. At the time of the dents compare what they typically and knowledge.There is also a section
survey, 54.4% of California adolescents eat in a day with the Food Guide titled “Extensions” that has optional
were enrolled in a physical education Pyramid and learn the link be- activities for students to do. Finally,
class, and, of those, only 38.1% at- tween eating habits and their “Teacher Background Information”
tended daily.1 physical and mental health. includes basic information about the
These findings have likely con- 2. Let’s Get Physical. Students assess topic and references to other resources.
tributed to the 60% overall increase in their personal level of physical ac- Accompanying each lesson are supple-
obesity in the last two decades among tivity, learn the beneﬁts of adding mentary materials, which consist of
adolescents 12 to 19 years old in the it to their daily lives, and learn overheads, activity sheets, quizzes, and
United States.2 They also emphasize new ways to incorporate more, handouts, as well as materials in Span-
the importance of continuing primary with an emphasis on lifelong phys- ish (Fig. 2).
prevention efforts throughout adoles- ical activity.
cence.3 3. Teens Making a Difference. Students
Food on the Run (FOR) is a explore the importance of their EVALUATION
school-based program of California opinions and then identify a pro-
Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging ject they want to work on to make Jump Start was student and teacher
Activity and Nutrition) (CPL) that a positive difference in their tested and included input from mar-
prompts high school students to advo- school or community. keting, health, and education profes-
cate for additional healthy food and 4. Advertising’s Hidden Messages. Stu- sionals throughout its development. In
physical activity options, advances pol- dents critically examine advertise- 1996, focus groups were conducted
icy and environmental changes that ments to become smarter con- with students and teachers from a va-
promote healthy eating and physical sumers. riety of subject areas in three Califor-
activity options in the school, and mo- 5. It’s In the Label—The Food Label. nia cities. Based on the focus group
tivates students to eat healthily and en- Students compare the fat and ﬁndings, Jump Start‘s layout and con-
gage in more physical activities. CPL other contents of similar foods by tent were developed and revised.
64 Takada et al./GEM NO. 329
In 1997, Jump Start was ﬁeld tested
in the classrooms of three California
public high schools and went through
its ﬁnal revisions based on those results.
Jump Start was completed in 1998 and
distributed to a number of schools
statewide. In that year, it was reviewed
on its “Instructional Design,” “Skill
Development Components,” and
“Teaching Methods” by the California
Department of Education, Healthy
Kids Resource Center; it received their
In 1999, Jump Start was evaluated to
learn how it was being used and by
whom. Among those who had used it
by that time, the response was very
positive, speciﬁcally in terms of its ease
of use, the level and types of activities
within each lesson, and the supple-
mentary materials. Responders indi-
cated favorably that Jump Start did not
require much planning to use. The
evaluation also found that it was effec-
tive with novice teachers and easy to
use even without having a background
in health. Among respondents, Jump Figure 1. Example of first page of a Jump Start nutrition lesson.
Start was being used in a variety of
classes: physical education, home eco-
nomics, culinary arts, science, nutri-
tion, and media.
Please contact the corresponding au-
thor for more information or visit our
Website at http://www.dhs.ca.gov/
lean to access an order form or to
download the entire kit.
The authors thank the following:
Suzanna Nye, M.S., R.D., Chief,WIC
Food Delivery and Policy Unit, Cali-
fornia Department of Health Services;
Nancy Gelbard, M.S., R.D., Chief,
School Health Connections, California
Department of Health Services; Sally
Livingston, M.A., R.D.,Administrator,
Nutrition Education and Training Sec-
tion, California Department of Educa-
tion; California Department of Educa-
tion, Nutrition Education and Training
Program; and American Heart Associ-
Figure 2. Example of supplementary material for a media lesson.
ation, the Greater Los Angeles and
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marski RJ, Campbell SM, Johnson WA, Berenson GS. Adolescent
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Prevention. CDC surveillance sum- trends for children and adolescents: overweight and related multiple
maries, August 14, 1998. MMWR the National Health Examination cardiovascular risk factors: the Bo-
Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1998; Surveys, 1963–1991. Arch Pediatr galusa Heart Study. Metabolism
47(SS-3). Adolesc Med 1995;149:1085–91. 1996;45:235–40.