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Review of:

Empowering Youth with Nutrition and Physical Activity Manual

Image courtesy of:
USDA/Food and Nutrition Service/Team Nutrition
Producer:USDA/Food and Nutrition Service/Team Nutrition
Date Produced:May 2007
  • Booklet
  • Curriculum
  • High School (13-18 yrs)
  • Professionals
  • General Nutrition
  • Weight Management
  • Health at Every Size
  • Physical Activity
  • MyPlate/DGA Training
  • Portion Sizes
  • Healthy Eating Tips
  • Fats and Oils
  • Sodium and Potassium
  • Calories
Description:Empowering Youth is a manual for use in after school programs and classrooms with youth 11-18 years old. It contains current nutrition and physical activity information to enhance leader knowledge; fun, hands-on activities that teach nutrition concepts; ideas to include nutrition education and physical activity into youth programs and events; resources to help youth develop a nutrition or physical activity related community project; tips, worksheets, handouts, discussion prompters and more!
Cost:Available to middle and high schools upon request from Team Nutrition. Also available in PDF.
Ordering Info:Available: to middle and high schools upon request from Team Nutrition, using this online order form: http://www.ntis.gov/tn/Index.aspx
Web Site:http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/Resources/empoweringyouth.html


A. Use of MyPlate/MyPlate or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Material based substantially on MyPlate or 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The manual provides a thorough but succinct review of the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid Food Guidance System. The explanation is in lay terms and thus appropriate for use by the general public.
B. Scope
Scope of information appropriate for target audience and essential topics discussed in appropriate detail.

The target audience of the manual are individuals who are planning programs for the adolescent population ages 11 to 18 years. As such, the scope and detail of the information is appropriate.
C. Purpose
Purpose stated in title or introduction is vague.

The title does not fully convey the resource is a program planning manual intended for program leaders.
D. Organization
Material well-organized and major points presented clearly.
E. Accuracy
Information is accurate and recommendations current with content of MyPlate and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
F. Learner Background
Material does not assume that reader has background information.

The manual provides a wealth of information for the program planner. For example, Chapter 1 provides basic information regarding nutrition, physical activity and facts about diet-related diseases. Subsequent chapters begin with a discussion on the importance of nutrition and physical activity, guidelines for planning healthful meals and snacks, etc.
G. Learning Objectives
Not applicable.

While specific learning objectives for youth are not included, objectives of the manual are included. 1. Increasing youth's understanding of nutrition and physical activity related issues in their communities. 2. Teaching skills to help them make healthier nutrition and physical activity choices. 3. Designing a youth-driven nutrition and physical activity community project. 4. Model and promoting healthful eating and physical activity.
H. Learning Activities, Projects, or Interactive Learning Tools
Material includes a variety of stimulating and interesting learning experiences, questions, projects, or suggestions for further action that will involve the reader.

The manual is complete with a variety of tools including handouts, worksheets, community assessment score sheets, newsletters for parents, etc. all aimed at empowering youth ages 11 to 18 years to make healthful choices. All tools are available on-line at the Team Nutrition website.
I. Objectivity/Sponsor Bias
Subject matter presented objectively and fairly. No brand name promotion or obvious sponsor bias.
J. Inclusion of learning objectives, learner activities, instructional aids, lesson plans, evaluation component, identification of required instructional materials, web site with additional materials.
Material includes five or more of the above.
K. Recipes (if included)
Overall, recipes are compatible with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
L. Recipes (if included)
Recipes include a nutrient analysis per serving for the following nutrients listed on the nutrition label: kcal, macronutrients, trans fats, cholesterol, dietary fiber and sodium. If for a low-income audience, a cost analysis is included.

The number of recipes are minimal, but include a vareity such that a complete meal (including a fruit-based dessert) could be prepared. The combination demonstrates a healthful meal with whole grain, lean protein, fruit and vegetables.
M. Instructional Resources
Instructor resources not needed for this material.

The manual is a complete resource for teachers and caregivers aiming to design a nutrition and physical activity program for adolescents.
N. Credits, References and Resources (Including dates, publisher, etc.)
Current and complete credits, references, and resources listed.
O. Summary
Some major ideas summarized or reviewed; summaries not easily identified.

While summaries are not provided, each chapter includes an introduction, summarizing the content.

A. Role Models
Does not include negative stereotypes but fails to consider role models in nontraditional roles.

The materials do not address physical activities for the physically handicapped population. However, some of the activities could be modified for those who are physically limited.
B. Multi-cultural Representation
Material does not include any outright negative stereotypes concerning racial, religious, or ethnic groups.
C. Different lifestyles and food patterns
Material does not address a variety of values, practices, and/or food patterns representative of different lifestyles, cultures, and socioeconomic levels.

Print Materials
A. Writing Style
Main ideas are clear and flow smoothly.
B. Writing Approach
Writing approach is positive and personal. Active voice is used most of the time.
C. Vocabulary
Vocabulary used is appropriate for intended audience. Minimizes use of technical terms and if used, are defined.
D. Supportive Illustrations
All of the illustrations contribute to the material and are on the same page as their textual references. Tables and graphs are as simple and easy to read as possible. All information needed in graphs and tables is provided in a form requiring no further explanation.
E. Layout and Design
Color, design, and layout of material are attractive, and stimulate interest, without being too busy. There is good balance between print and blank space.
F. Visual Quality
Paper weight used is heavy enough so that print from one side cannot be seen on the other side. Text is written in a font size that is easy to read, and the main body is not written in capital letters.
G. Headings/Cueing Devices
Clear headings are provided for each topic area. Cueing devices (shading, boxes, arrows, etc.) are used to direct attention to key points.
H. Approximate Reading Level
Reading level is at 6th, 7th or 8th grade level.

Overall Comments on Resource Reviewed

A. Positive Points of the Reviewed Resource:
Basic nutrition and physical activity background information enabling program planners to accurately communication to youth. As such, no previous training is needed to incorporate the activities and games into youth programs. In addition, the manual includes resources to help youth assess their local food and physical activity environments and to advocate for change.
B. Points that Could Be Improved:
The majority of the tools provided in the manual are related to nutrition. While there is a full chapter devoted to phsical activity, the activities are designed for small spaces. Program leaders will need to access other sources for activities of moderate to vigorous intensity, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Older adolescents (high-school age) may have previously completed some of the nutrition education activities, especially if they have been exposed to extensive nutrition education programs.
C. General Comments
While the materials provide a weatlh of information and tools, adults working with youth need to be highly encouraged to not only share the information, but also to role model the desired behaviors. Actions do speak louder than words. The background information, specifically the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid may need to be revised with the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. However, the other information and activities should continue to be accurate.
D. Overall Summary
Teachers and caregivers will find the resource a useful manual in developing programs aimed at empowering youth ages 11 to 18 years to make healthful food and physical activity choices. The manual is complete with in-depth tools that are ready to use.

Reviewer Rating
Any opinions expressed about any resource in this web site (either expressly or implied) are solely and completely the responsibility of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.