Healthy Bodies, Healthy Body Image

The focus of this lesson is on accepting others as well as ourselves, and on being the best that we can be—which includes maintaining our health and encouraging those around us to do the same.
Grade Level


Students will be able to:

  • discuss what it means to be healthy and how food and exercise choices affect their bodies;
  • set personal goals for their physical and emotional health, incorporating what they have learned about media and other messages that can affect body image;
  • take action to educate others in their school and community about health and its relationship to healthy body image.
  • Enduring Understandings:
    • To be healthy is to be free from illness or disease. It is a state of being that includes physical, intellectual, emotional, and social well-being. Being healthy can increase your energy and improve your mood, fitness and self-esteem.
    • Having an unhealthy lifestyle can affect your life in many ways. It can cause illness or disease. It can also decrease your energy and negatively affect your mood, fitness, and self-esteem.
Essential Questions
  • What does it mean to be healthy, and why is it important?
  • How can having an unhealthy lifestyle (poor sleep, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, etc.) affect you?

This lesson of part of the series, I See You, You See Me: Body Image and Social Justice, which helps students think about their bodies and body image as related to broader issues of social justice and the harm caused from stereotypes.


body image [ bäd-ē im-ij ] (noun) a person’s perception of his or her body

healthy [ hel-thē ] (adj.) free of illness and injury; physical, mental, and social well being



1. Tell students that the focus of this lesson will be on the importance of being healthy. Pose the question: “What does it mean to be healthy?” Follow up with these other guiding questions. Chart students’ responses. Ask:

  • How can having an unhealthy lifestyle (eating poorly, inactivity, lack of sleep, etc.) affect you?
  • What does it mean when someone says that you should eat healthy foods or have a healthy diet?
  • What are some foods that are considered to be healthy? Why is that so?

2. Explain to students that what is evident from their responses is that there are many things that people can do to make sure that they keep their bodies healthy. Ask: “How can we do that?” Solicit answers and chart responses. (For example: exercise, eat well, get a lot of rest)

3. Highlight responses that relate to exercising and being mindful of the kinds of food they eat.

4. Break the students into groups of four. Give two of the groups the Different Forms of Exercise chart. Give another two groups the Healthy Foods, Unhealthy Foods chart. Give the remaining groups the Healthy Alternatives chart. Each group will work together to brainstorm, then write or sketch as many items as they can come up with that relate to their specific chart. Check in on group(s) working on the Healthy Alternatives chart. Remind them of the larger group discussion of foods that are considered to be healthy. If the students haven’t already talked about low-fat or fat-free foods and processed and unprocessed foods, generate a brief discussion to aid them in their thinking of healthier food choices.

5. Gather students together, making sure that each chart is placed in an area visible to all. Have each group share its charts and any discussion that came up in their group work. Tell students that what that they have learned is information that can be helpful not only to them but also to others in their community who may need to know ways in which they can be healthier.

6. Remind students about the second lesson in this series, Our Bodies and the Media, which discusses the media’s effect on people’s body image. Tell the class that all students will now get a chance to create a poster campaign, and they will need to come up with encouraging, entertaining advertising slogans to inspire media users to make healthy choices.

7. Form small groups again, giving each group a blank poster board and markers. Advise each group to use information from the charts they created earlier to devise a poster specific to their chart. This will ensure a variety of posters discussing exercise and healthy eating. Challenge students to make posters that are eye-catching while also emphasizing key information about exercise and healthy eating.

8. After posters have been submitted, have students review all entries, using the carousel review method: Hang each poster up in a different section of the classroom, alongside a blank piece of chart paper and a marker. Student groups will then rotate around the room, stopping at each poster for 2-3 minutes. At each stop, students should discuss what they see and share ideas about potential enhancements or omissions (if any). Each group should then note those ideas on the blank chart paper, displaying their suggestions for all groups to see.

9. Allow time for the groups to return to their original posters, read the suggestions, and make any necessary changes. The final posters should then be strategically placed around the school building.

Alignment to Common Core State Standards: CCSS: R.7, R.9

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