Live it! Real-life nutrition for teens

The Live It! Real Life Nutrition for Teens program came to life in 2012, and to date, the total number of impacted students is over 1,488 

Live It! is a 15 lesson nutrition and physical activity program, funded by Prairie Ridge Health. The Live It! Program is incorporated into the health or science curriculum at the following schools:
     • Columbus Middle School
     • St Jerome Middle School
     • Fall River Middle School
     • Zion Lutheran Middle School
     • Marshall Elementary School

The program presents healthy lifestyle concepts in a fun and engaging way, designed to enhance students’ and their families’ awareness of and action towards healthy food choices and physical activity. 

Live It! originated with the help of grant funding and the Food For Thought Coalition, which is comprised of the participating schools, Prairie Ridge Health (PRH) and the Prairie Ridge Health Foundation. Prairie Ridge Health sought to improve rising obesity trends observed in Columbia County, by targeting its’ youth and taking steps to prevent childhood obesity, the precursor to adult obesity. The program is now fully funded by Prairie Ridge Health, the Volunteers of Prairie Ridge Health, and the Prairie Ridge Health Foundation, allowing the program to be offered free of charge to students at each of the schools.

Live It! Curriculum

The Live It! program is not just another class taught in schools, but a unique, fun and engaging competition where students learn. Throughout the program, each class earns points based on student completion of in-class and take-home activities. Family involvement is encouraged with take home activities, including an adult interviewrecipe booklet, couch potato workout, and nutrition/physical activity goal setting action plan. The class accumulating the most points wins the grand prize; a field trip to PRH for a healthy cooking class with PRH’s Executive Chef, Melissa Osterhoff. The top scoring student in each individual class receives a trophy and healthy gift card, while all students receive a prize for participation at the end of the program.

Lessons include:
• Introductory & Wrap Up sessions
• 10 Nutrition lessons
• 3 Physical Activity lessons

Lesson 1 · Understand terms related to general nutrition
· Determine what foods are most nutrient-rich (N-rich)
Lesson 2 · Personalize nutrition goals related to caloric needs, activity
Lesson 3 · Read and use a Nutrition Facts label
Lesson 4 · Make decisions for different nutrition scenarios
· Understand how eating habits can affect them now and in the future 
Lesson 5 · Understand the differences between common nutrition myths and facts based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
· Understand and utilize practical applications of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Lesson 6 · Keep Food and Activity Record for three (3) days 
· Discuss how people are unique from each other
Lesson 7 · Evaluate their food & activity habits
· Set healthy eating goals related to their food & activity habits
·  Understand how eating habits can affect them now and in the future 
Lesson 8 · Understand the function of macronutrients provided by food
· Use their knowledge about nutrients to create balanced meals
Lesson 9 · Understand the process of the digestive system
Lesson 10 · Identify sources of added sugar and lower sugar alternatives 
· Discuss how to eat healthy while on-the-go
· Make healthy decisions about fast food choices

Physical Activity Lessons
Lesson 1 · Healthy Hydration
Lesson 2 · Increasing physical activity at home
Lesson 3 ·  Healthy Snacking

Reach & Results of the Program

In its first 7 years, Live It! has directly reached over 1,100 students and their families, allowing for the following outcomes. * Results are based on feedback from student surveys, which are assigned at both the start and completion of the program.

Survey results indicate that after completing Live-It!, students….
• Think more about how food choices will affect their health
• Eat less sometimes foods (chips, cookies, candy)
• Made the switch to a lower fat milk
• Drink less sugar sweetened beverages
• Eat less processed foods (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, Easy Mac)
• Participate in some type of physical activity more days each week

What do the students & their parents
think about the Live It program?

Student Feedback

What did you like the most about the Live It! program?

What did you like the most about the Live It! program?

“I liked how we got the chance to learn how to be better and healthier people at such a young age because it’ll come in handy later on.”


“Physical activities with Chris”

“I liked the jeopardy activity”

“The awesome experiments like making the smoothie”

“Everything especially the digestive system”

“That it helped me learn about eating better and choosing healthier choices”

“Eating the food and learning what bad food can do to you”

“You get to do a lot of hands on stuff”

“I got to eat food and try new things”

What part of the program helped you learn the best?

What part of the program helped you learn the best?

“Grams of sugar in soda”

“Probably the goal one because it taught me that I don’t drink very much water on a daily basis”

“When we learned about the type of diseases what may affect us.”

“I learned how to eat more nutritional and healthy food”

“Portion control helped me the best because I used to tend to eat too much”

“Looking at the nutrition facts”

“The parts when we were with Chris”

“The recipes helped me learn healthy can taste decent”

“Having fun”

“When we compared foods and learned about N-rich foods, Less N-rich foods and sometimes foods”

Additional comments from students

Additional comments from students

“We want Live It in 7th grade!!”

“I will miss Live It!”

“It was my favorite class”

Parent Feedback

What did you like most about the Live It! program?

What did you like most about the Live It! program?

“Learning more about health; very educational”

“That my child learns why it is so important to be healthy”

Would you recommend this program? Why or why not?

Would you recommend this program? Why or why not?

“Yes. This program brings out the best in kids.”

“Yes. So kids can understand why it’s important to be healthy.”