Health Awareness

“I believe passionately in empowering our next generation to make personal and informed life decisions based on facts, not on slick marketing or peer pressure”

Linda MacCallum, Facts for Life

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Usually delivered in 30-60 minute sessions, our creative and interactive health awareness modules empower students to take responsibility for their own bodies and understand the short and long-term implications of positive and negative life choices. Presentations use medical facts and scientific examples to inform and stimulate discussion, and hands-on activities reinforce key messages.

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EcigElectronic-cigarettes are promoted as a healthier alternative to tobacco, but there has been an upsurge in the number of school children who are experimenting with ‘vaping’.

We examine some of the ingredients found in e-cigarettes, and explain the biological effects that the different chemicals have on our cells and ultimately our bodies. We cover current legislation and explore why the regulation of e-cigarettes is important to both our health and our safety. Students take on the role of marketing executives to discuss the strategies that have made e-cigarettes so attractive to the youth market, and we debate conflicting opinions on the benefits of e-cigarettes.

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pixabay_sugarThis fun and interactive session informs on the different types of sugar in our diet and how each affects our bodies.

We discuss how our relationship with sugar starts in early childhood, and explain the physiological reasons why we crave sweet foods. Focusing on tooth decay, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes we explore the short and long-term implications of excess sugar consumption. Looking at the chemical structure of different sugars, we decide if there are really ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sugars.  Students learn how to interpret food labels and identify ‘hidden sugars’, and they work together to calculate, on average, how much sugar they consume on a daily basis. Finally they use their knowledge to identify and propose healthier alternatives for themselves.

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Sugar and caffeine-filled energy drinks are readily available ‘legal highs’ that are proven to have a significant negative influence on behaviour. Students who consume excessive amounts to enable them to stay up late, and thereafter to make up for their lack of sleep, can arrive in class hyperactive and unable to concentrate, only to ‘crash’ later in the school day when the impact of the drinks wears off.

Using scientific facts and data we examine the chemical ingredients of these energy drinks, and explain the biological effects that the different stimulants have on our bodies. We discuss current headlines and look at the marketing strategies that have made energy drinks so attractive to the youth market. Students work in groups to a write a recipe for a novel healthy energy drink and they design a billboard poster, which they present to the class.

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pixabay_cigaretteThere are over 4000 chemicals in one puff of cigarette smoke!

In this interactive session students guess, from a selection of ‘ingredients’, which ones are found in tobacco smoke.  We discuss the science of addiction, and the effects it has on both the brain and behaviour. We introduce the concept of carcinogens and use basic cell biology coupled with medical statistics to explain how carcinogenic substances cause cancer by damaging our DNA, our cells and ultimately our bodies. Learning is reinforced when the students work in groups to research some of the chemical ingredients of tobacco and the effects they have on our health. They present their findings to the class in order to stimulate informative discussions.

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pixabay_bloodWhat is blood?  Why do we have so much of it?  What does it do?

This fun and informative session helps students to learn about all things blood – different blood cells and their roles in the body, blood typing, plasma and donation. We explore a variety of blood disorders and look at current therapies. Finally, we explain the role and function of the heart, and use this information to discuss how, by adopting a healthy lifestyle, we can maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce our risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

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