American adolescents carry a heavy burden of future heart disease and diabetes risk, and while obesity has strongly contributed to their poor health prospects, normal-weight kids not consuming enough health-supporting foods are at risk for various diseases as well. Lack of dietary fiber, as just one example, affecting gastrointestinal health, is a major problem in adolescents.
Addressing obesity and ill-health in today’s children will alter the frequency and severity of a host of diseases they will encounter decades later, a return on investment that may be profound, says the National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP)
Although there are many disheartening statistics about the health of our kids, at DirectionFive, we know that we can help. We are founded on the principles that if kids are a part of the process, they will be part of the solution. Our five programs are based on what the kids told us they want to learn in combination with the information we know they must learn. With DirectionFive’s help, our kids receive the necessary tools to live healthier lives, while having a healthy dose of fun in the process!
D5’s five programs cover many aspects of health. We educate in the fundamentals of nutrition and the effects of stress. We show the importance of fitness as well as covering the connection between the Earth’s health and their personal health. The key to our success is this: These lessons are taught as kids learn to cook–a vital life skill and proven determinant of health.
Our mission is simple:
Our mission is to improve the health of kids so they can lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.
“Tell me and I will forget, Show me and I will remember, Involve me and I will understand
These are the five components that comprise the DirectionFive program.
Direction One: The Foundation of Health
Understanding how your body system’s work and work together is vital to your good health. If you understand how the choices you make affect your health today and in the future, you will make healthier choices.
In the Foundation program kids will learn about:
• The eleven body systems
• The role of nutrition in health promotion and disease.
• Basic metabolism and requirements of nutrients; energy balance and weight control issues
• Dietary guidelines, recommended dietary allowances (RDA’s), Pyramids and other Health Guides
• Understanding nutrition labels on packaged foods
Direction Two: The Body and Mind Connection
The question asked of kids as part of the data collection, was “When you think of being healthy, do you think of just your body or body and your mind?” The vast majority said body and mind together. With this in mind, we are concerned with how our thoughts and feelings affect our physical bodies and vice versa.
Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. This is often called the “mind/body connection.”
The mind-body connection suggests that you can learn to use your thoughts to positively influence some of your body’s physical responses and change mind-sets that no longer serve you or don’t feel right for you. It also suggests that your body’s physical reaction to various stressors can affect your thoughts. It’s a loop.
Topics discussed will include:
• Scheduling –are you too busy?
Direction Three: The Body and Earth Connection
The vast majority of kids believe that there is a connection between the Earth’s health and their personal health. Many kids are concerned about the safety of the food they’re eating and the water they’re drinking and yet when asked, “Do you know where you’re food comes from?” only 36.4% of kids questioned knew.
As part of the Body/Earth Program, kids will learn about how their food choices affect the planet, they’ll learn how their food gets on their plate and will understand our food and water supply.
Other topics of discussion will include:
• How toxins affect their bodies and the Earth
• Everyday choices that affect our Earth and therefore our bodies: recycling, reducing, reusing.
• Local foods vs. food that has traveled to get to their plates
• Nature Deficit Disorder
Direction Four: Fitness
It’s one thing to say, ‘you need to exercise’, but it’s another to know how exercise affects your body. When you understand what is happening in your body when you do exercise and understand how your body is affected by not exercising, movement becomes more important.
Kids will learn:
• How strength bearing exercise affects their bones
• How aerobic exercise affects their heart, lungs and all body systems
• Why unstructured play/exercise is so important
• Simple ways to include more movement in their everyday lives
Direction Five: Culinary
Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives is the mantra for this program.
The vast majority of kids want to learn how to cook. By the time kids begin the five-day culinary program, they understand from the previous four programs how their choices affect their bodies and the Earth’s health. This being said, the recipes and meals prepared need to be delicious in order to make healthy eating a part of their lives for their life.
Just some of what they will learn:
• Sanitation and Safety
• Knife selection and skills
• Kitchen equipment and pantry basics
• Basic recipes: from stocks to ice cream, they will learn all basic recipes-pizza included of course! Pizza was by far the meal of choice for many kids.
In the culinary program all aspects of the five programs will be discussed as they learn to cook. Why are we using brown rice instead of white rice? How does the choice of a free-range egg affect the nutrients, therefore their bodies’ health, and the earth’s health? What about humane treatment of animals?
So as to reach as many kids as possible, we offer three program choices. Some organizations begin with the introductory class, while others begin with the full program. We are happy to work with your schedules.
The introductory class is 5 hours in length and can be taught in one class or two 2-½ hour classes. Classes could be after school or on the weekends. The kids will learn key points in each of the first four programs while creating four to five recipes. As always fun is the key ingredient! We are sure that this taste of the D5 program will leave them wanting more.
This program is a 15-hour program taught in three 5-hour sessions or five 3 hour-sessions. The format is the same as the full program but the material is not as in depth and less recipes are made- though they will still make 15-20 recipes! The kids will learn major points of each of the first four program while they learn all the basic kitchen skills and the recipes that all cooks need to know how to make with healthy ‘tweaks.’ This will give them the knowledge they need to begin down the path of a healthier life.
The full D5 program is 35 hours and can be held over the course of one week during the summer months or during breaks, or can be held over 7-10 weeks on the weekends. This full program will give kids the knowledge they need to lead healthier lives. It’s the complete program learning all the first four programs while preparing an average of 40 recipes. The recipes include not only as the basics, but many ‘fun’ recipes as well. Remember, fun is our key ingredient! Parents, just think…your kids can cook for you…
Class Sizes and Tuition:
Recommended class size is 10 – 12 kids with a minimum of 6. Educational materials are tailored to specific age groups. Each student will receive the material appropriate for that class, and the full program kids receive a D5 apron.
Tuition for the various programs can vary depending on site fees and other fees. Please call or write to discuss your needs and the needs of the organization you represent. Our goals is to help as many kids as we can and there is almost always a way to make a program happen!
DirectionFive will provide, upon approval, some scholarship funds, to allow for reduced fee/free tuition – our goal is to include kids from all walks of life in this program.
The D5 Teacher Program for Adults
In order to expand the programs to as many children as possible, DirectionFive is offering a DirectionFive Teacher training program to approved adults culminating with a licensed DirectionFive Health Certificate. Our teachers will be from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Continuing education will be required and there will be a fee for the training as well as licensing fees for the program. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.