Welcome to the Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active Web site!
What is Media-Smart Youth?
Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! is an interactive after-school education program for young people ages 11 to 13. It is designed to help teach them about the complex media world around them, and how it can affect their health--especially in the areas of nutrition and physical activity.
The NICHD is in the process of upgrading the Media-Smart Youth program to incorporate the latest government nutrition and physical activity recommendations, as well as information about new media platforms. Online versions of the upgraded materials will be available from this website in the next few weeks. Hard copies of the program materials will also be available in the next few months. Please check this website for additional information.
What are the program's goals?
Media-Smart Youth works to:
- Help 11- to 13-year olds become aware of--and think critically about--how media can affect their nutrition and physical activity choices.
- Help young people build the skills to make good decisions about being physically active and eating nutritiously in daily life.
- Encourage young people to establish healthy habits that will last into adulthood.
Media-Smart Youth is not a weight loss program, but rather is a health promotion program. It helps young people become critical, creative thinkers. Media-Smart Youth teaches them to analyze, evaluate, and create media messages--skills that can help them make smart and positive choices about nutrition and physical activity every day.
What do youth do in the Media-Smart Youth program?
- Media awareness: The program uses 6 Media Questions (PDF - 665 KB) that help young people learn to analyze and recognize ways the media tries to get their attention, and to evaluate these media messages for accuracy and for consistency with their ideas about being healthy.
- Nutrition: A variety of activities encourage youth to make healthy snack choices, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods, and to reduce the amount of fat and added sugar they eat. Each lesson includes a Snack Break during which young people learn to make a nutritious snack and receive a recipe to take home and share with their families.
- Physical activity: Participants learn the importance of daily physical activity for good health and develop strategies for becoming more active. A 10-minute Action Break during each lesson engages youth in a fun physical activity.
- Media production: In each lesson, youth express what they learn by creating a Mini-Production, in which they develop their own media messages. The Big Production, the program's final project, lets youth to create a media project (such as a public service announcement, a poster, a Web page, etc.) that promotes healthy nutrition and physical activity to their peers. In this way, they learn by doing - taking what they know about how the media works and putting it into practice in their own media project.
For a brief overview of the topics covered in the program, check out the Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! Fact Sheet (PDF - 523 KB).