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Culture and Health

Module 5 Lesson 2


The purpose of this lesson is to explore the evolution of human culture and its relation to health. Because overall population health is difficult to measure, statistics of life expectancy will be presented. Factors that influence life expectancy such as access to resources and technology as well as culture will be discussed. Students will also compare the weekly food consumption of different countries to explore how culture may play a role in health. Finally students will participate in an activity that has them reflect on their own choices and the possible influence of culture on those choices.

What role has culture played in the health of the human population?


Students will 1. Recognize the relationship between choices, health, and life expectancy across cultures. (ecosystem change, ecosystem state and structure, forces and drivers, human impact) 2. Understand factors that influence a human populations overall health. (ecosystem change, forces and drivers, human impact) Explain the relationships between culture and health. Analyze trends in life expectancy across cultures. No specific goals connected with acting on urban ecology in this lesson.

Talk Do Act

No specific safety issues are associated with this lesson.

Time: 1 class period Materials: Day 1: Activity 2.1 Powerpoint Presentation The What the World Eats photo essay in Time Magazine, where the photos come from: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519,00.html Hungry Planet book page: http://www.menzelphoto.com/books/hp.php

Culture and Health

Module 5 Lesson 2

Hungry Planet curriculum resources (for sale): http://www.catalog.socialstudies.com/c/product.html?record@TF39905+s@Xg.mo4.NJy zEg Activity 2.2 Worksheet 2.2

Introducing the Lesson Activity 2.1: 1. Begin the lesson by reviewing the main concepts discussed in lesson 1 about factors that influence public health (i.e. water quality, air quality, food quality, etc.). 2. Next show students the PowerPoint presentation for this lesson. Some questions and their potential answers can be found in the notes section of the slides. The main idea is to have students really think about the following two questions: o Why is the health of populations in different regions of the world so different? o How can culture influence a populations health? 3. In the PowerPoint, Slide 2 can be used to introduce the idea that culture can impact health, Slide 3 provides a definition of culture (e.g. the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time). You can also find interesting photos portraying cultural differences that can enhance the lesson at the links listed in the materials section above. Activity 2.2: After distributing Worksheet 2.2 to each student, read through the directions with the class and stress to them that this is for their own information and will not be collected or graded at the end of class. 1. Students should also be reminded that although they will be starting from zero for the first question, they should not return to 0 after each question, the steps should continue from the position of the last question. 2. After reading through all of the questions, have students discuss in groups or as a class their reactions to this exercise. 3. Some questions to consider a. How much has the American culture played a role in their choices? b. Are there students that believe another culture plays a more significant role in their choices than the American culture? c. Were they surprised about the outcome of their decisions when they looked at them as a collective?

Culture and Health

Module 5 Lesson 2

Concluding the Lesson 1. The last slide on the power point suggests a question that can be discussed in class or addressed in the student journal - If it is known that some behaviors are less healthy than others, why is it that certain cultures encourage unhealthy behaviors?

Activity 2.2: How Healthy is my Lifestyle? The choices we make everyday contribute to our health. Although taken individually, each choice doesnt seem to be that important, many people do not consider how many of their choices work together to affect their overall health. This activity will ask you to consider your lifestyle choices as factors that positively or negatively contribute to your health.

Directions: Place your pen or pencil on the line marked 0 As your teacher reads each question move your pen or pencil . forward or backward depending how you answer the question. Mark the spot you arrive at after all the questions are asked.



0 Start Here


Are you surprised the result? Explain your answer.

Culture and Health Lesson 2.2: How Healthy is my Lifestyle Teacher Questions

Module 5 Lesson 2

1. Do you have breakfast most every morning? If so, take one step forward. If not, take one step back. 2. Do you drink more than 1 cup of soda a day? Take on step back 3. Do you exercise at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes? If so, take one step forward. If not take one step back. 4. Do you eat at least two servings of fruit a day? If so take one step forward. If not, take one step back. 5. Do you eat at least two servings of vegetables a day? If so take one step forward. If not take one step back. 6. Do you eat fast food at least 3 times a week? If so take one step back. 7. Do you smoke? If so take two steps back. 8. Do you sleep at least 8 hours a night most of time? If so take one step forward. If not take one step back. 9. Do you wear sunscreen when you go out in the sun? If so take one step forward. If not take one step back. 10. Do you drink water and milk more often than other beverages? If so take on step forward. 11. Do you eat fried food more than 3 times a week? If so take one step back. 12. Do you take daily vitamins? If so take one step forward. 13. Do you eat potato chips, Doritos of some other bagged snack at least four times a week? If so take one step back. 14. Do you sit to watch TV more than 4 hours a day? If so take one step back, if not take one step forward. 15. Are you involved in at least one extra-curricular activity or organization? If so, take one step forward.