A Look at Longevity: Lesson Plan

Explain the relationship among a healthy diet, exercise, and the general health of the body, including how the work of researchers at Duke University will help determine risk factors and triggers of disease and how this information can be used to treat disease sooner and more effectively.


UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • NCES.8.L.5.2 — Explain the relationship among a healthy diet, exercise, and the general health of the body.

Learning Outcomes

Time Allotment Needed: 5 days (block schedule)

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will explain the relationship among a healthy diet, exercise, and the general health of the body
  • Students will explain how a healthy diet and exercise is related to good respiratory and digestive health

Essential Questions

Essential Questions:

  1. What are the USDA MyPlate recommentdations for a healthy diet?
  2. According to MyPlate, how much physical activity is recommended for different age groups?
  3. Why is a healthy diet important?
  4. Why is getting enough physical activity important?

Essential Vocabulary

  • Calorie
  • Fats
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Obesity
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heartburn
  • Proteins
  • Minerals
  • Cholesterol
  • Colon Cancer


Students will visit Choose MyPlate to find out more about what is recommended as a healthy diet. Students will answer the following questions in pairs.

  1. What are the health benefits to eating fruits and vegetables?
  2. What is the difference between whole grains and refined grains? 
  3. What counts as one cup in the dairy group?
  4. Which foods contain protein?
  5. What are oils? Are they a food group? In which foods can oils be found?
  6. How much food from each group should be eaten daily?


Students will work independently to define obesity and research the links between obesity and cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive health. Students will fill in the table below as they gather information.


Students will define and include the vocabulary terms in their tables as needed.

Students can use the websites listed below as a starting point for their research. Encourage students to use other websites they are comfortable with but that are still reliable sources. Some websites may contain links to other pages that can be helpful.

  • Obesity and Respiratory Disorders — http://www.news-medical.net/health/Obesity-and-respiratory-disorders.aspx
  • Obesity Risks — https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/risks 
  • Hearburn — http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/america-asks-9/no-heartburn-diet 
  • Gallstones Basics — http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gallstones/basics/definition/con-20020461 
  • Diabetes: Food and Fitness — http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/?loc=ff-slabnav
  • High Blood Pressure Prevention and Treatment — http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Prevention-Treatment-of-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002054_Article.jsp#.VoRee8CANBc 
  • Asthma FAQs — http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/expert-answers/asthma-diet/faq-20058105 
  • Sleep Topics: Diet, Exercise, and Sleep — https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/diet-exercise-and-sleep



Students will track what they eat and how much they exercise for five days. Students will use the Choose MyPlate guidelines for diet and exercise to compare their results. Student will summarize their eating and exercise habits and determine if they need or want to change anything to achieve better health. All results should be kept private and confidential and students should be assured of this from the beginning of the activity.


Students will watch the NC Science NOW video “A Long Look at Longevity” to learn more about how studying the triggers or risk factors of common disease can help doctors treat the disease more effectively. Researchers on the MURDOCK study are collecting data to learn more about how diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, start. Have students answer the following questions after watching the video:

  1. Describe the MURDOCK study.
  2. Why do the scientists involved in the study think that collecting long-term data will help them learn more about how diseases start?
  3. Can lifestyle changes improve a person’s health, even if they are older?



Students will work independently to create a short video in the form of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to encourage people to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Students will briefly touch on the answers to the following questions in their video.

  1. Why is a healthy diet important?
  2. Why is getting enough physical activity important? 
  3. How does eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise affect the respiratory system?
  4. How does eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise affect the cardiovascular system?
  5. How does eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise affect the digestive system?


Evaluation Rubric