Step 1:

Family Tree Drawing

Students will create a family tree. They should include:


•All Siblings, including half-brothers and sisters

•Their mother and father

•Their grandparents on both their mother’s side and their father’s side

•Any other family members that are alive or that are accessible (aunts, uncles, great grandparents, cousins, etc)

Students should include siblings, parents and grandparents at a minimum, even if they have passed away. Students do not have to indicate on their tree that any of their relatives have passed away if they do not want to. The trees will be shared, and any information that students might be sensitive about should be omitted. Students should draw a tree with the names and birthdates of their family members. There are numerous trees that can be found on the web if you prefer to provide a ready-made outline for your students.

Step 2:

Family Member Interview

Students should use the interview sheet provided to find out information about their family members’ health histories. If a parent is knowledgeable about all the members in their family, they can use them as a single source. If a parent is unfamiliar with the health history of a family member, the student can ask that relative directly. If a family member is not accessible or information is not readily available, this should not be counted against the student.

Step 3:

Making the Connection: Researching how food affects a disease

Students should choose one health condition (disease) that has affected their family. They will research the disease and it’s relation to nutrition (if applicable). They will try to find out:

Is this disease caused by poor nutrition? (i.e. Type II diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc)

Does nutrition affect a person while they have this disease? (i.e. People with high blood pressure must watch their diet to improve their condition.)

Is nutrition’s effect on this disease short term or long term? In other words, does eating poorly cause this problem in the near future (6 months, 1 year) or in the distant future (20 years).

If there are no diseases in the student’s family they can choose a disease that is affected by nutrition. Further, if there is a disease that the student does not feel comfortable discussing, they may choose an alternative condition to research.

Students should write a brief summary of their findings, answering the questions listed above. In addition, they should write an “action plan” for someone who wants to prevent the disease. This will be a list of 5 to 10 specific actions a person can take to eat well and prevent a disease or lesson their chances for facing disease later in life. See a sample list below:

Sample Action Plan:

  1. Eat foods from the five food groups and use the food guide pyramid to tell you how many servings you need.
  2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat from the 5 color groups.
  3. Eat 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables per day.
  4. Limit how many sodas and sugary drinks you have each day.
  5. Read nutrition labels to make sure the foods you eat have nutrients.
  6. Eat the recommended serving size on the nutrition label.
  7. Drink lots of water.
  8. Eat enough food to have energy, but make sure you balance how much you eat with how much physical activity you get.
  9. Eat fruit or other healthy foods for snacks.
  10. Drink 100% fruit juice with your breakfast.

Non-profit Tax ID # 203478467