Materials Help Youth Evaluate Media Messages, Make Food, Activity Choices

Armen Hareyan's picture

Healthy child habits

A new after-school program helps kids interpret the numerous messages they receive every day to make healthier choices about food and physical activity. The materials, available free on the Web, were developed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH.)


Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! is designed to help young people ages 11 to 13 become aware of how media may influence the choices they make. The program's fun, hands-on, interactive activities teach critical thinking skills that will help young people make smart decisions about what they eat and how they spend their time.

"Habits begun in childhood and reinforced in the teen years may become lifelong behaviors," said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the NICHD. "Media-Smart Youth teaches young people how to evaluate the complex media messages they receive so they can make wise choices about eating and being active."

The Media-Smart Youth curriculum, available at consists of 10 lessons and a major project that help young people acquire knowledge and skills in four key areas:

  • Media awareness