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Nourishing Our Children
for a Lifetime
A guide for Discussion and Action
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy
eating in childhood and adolescence is instrumental in physical and mental development. Sadly, many young people in Kentucky and the U.S. are not practicing healthy
eating behaviors, and as a result, we are seeing an alarming increase in childhood
obesity and other nutrition-related health issues. The KET documentary, Well Fed:
Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime, looks at what parents, schools, and communities
in Kentucky are doing to help children learn the joys and benefits of healthy eating.
Well Fed offers lots of examples of strategies for encouraging healthy eating that
you can adapt for your home, school, or community. We’ve developed this discussion guide for you to use if you choose to host a screening – in whole or in part – in
your community or with your students.
Program Overview.................................................................Page 2
Discussion Guide for Adult Audiences...............................Page 3
Discussion Guide for Youth Audiences...............................Page 7
Companion Program: More Than Child’s Play................ Page 11
“Nutrition is such a
fundamental part of
human well-being
and human potential”
— Anita Courtney
Program Overview
Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime follows the growth of a child, highlighting the importance of good nutrition starting in infancy and continuing through
the teenage years. It serves up a rich buffet of inspirational stories and promising
strategies to share and replicate.
The Newborn and Early Childhood
While breast milk is universally hailed as superior to infant formula, breastfeeding rates in Kentucky are among the nation’s lowest. The program begins at the
University of Kentucky hospital where new mothers are encouraged to practice
Kangaroo Care as a means of increasing bonding and breastfeeding. Viewers then
meet Dr. Brooke Sweeney, director of the Healthy for Life! Program at the University of Louisville and mother of two young children, who shares her experience and
wisdom on the topic of early childhood nutrition.
The School Years
When children enter school, the opportunities for nutrition education expand.
The program visits Bloom Elementary in Louisville, where parent volunteers have
implemented the “Food is Elementary” curriculum, a program that teaches young
learners about healthy food choices through an experiential approach that emphasizes plant-based foods and recipes from around the world.The program then makes
a visit to the Latonia Elementary cafeteria in Northern Kentucky, which instituted
“Meatless Mondays,” demonstrating that every meal doesn’t have to include meat.
Viewers also get to meet children from Graves Elementary in far Western Kentucky,
who now have fresh lettuce at every meal, and a group of proud Future Farmers of
America members at Montgomery High School in Central Kentucky, who are raising
their own beef to serve in the school cafeteria.
Communities play an extremely important role in supporting families and
schools. Many communities in Kentucky are considered food deserts, areas with
limited or no access to large grocery stores with fresh and affordable foods. Well
Fed takes a look at several communities who have worked hard to fill this void. In
Jackson County, the health department facilitated a community garden at a public
housing project that became an intergenerational effort with the seniors sharing
their experiences and expertise with the youth. Viewers also travel to Bell County
to learn about a program that addresses the influence of culture on food choices and
two innovative efforts in Louisville to connect residents with fresh produce.
Discussion Guide for Adult Audiences
Well Fed is designed to appeal to a wide variety of community groups and citizens, including health care professionals, food service professionals, teachers, civic
organizations, church groups, and parents. Use these questions to get the conversation started, and feel free to tailor them to best serve the interests and needs of
your group.
Question Types
• Before Viewing : These are pre-viewing suggestions that help people become more aware of the pre-conceptions and beliefs they bring to these issues.
• Reflection and Comprehension: These are post-viewing questions designed to deepen viewers’ understanding of key ideas and concepts from the documentary.
• Focusing on Your Community: These are post-viewing questions that shift the group’s attention to opportunities for action in their own community.
Section 1: Early Childhood
“The habits we have as children tend to be the same habits we
take into adulthood. So if you grow up eating a lot of fruits and
vegetables and things of that nature you will probably keep those
behaviors for a long time.” — LaQuandra Nesbit, MD
Section 1: Early Childhood
1. What eating habits did your family instill in you at a young age? Which of these habits are you now imparting to your family?
2. How is your family life now different from your life growing up because of societal changes?
3. What are the biggest challenges you face in terms of eating healthy foods on
a regular basis today and sharing those practices with your current family?
Reflection and Comprehension
1. Dr. Sweeney says that eating white flour and white rice is like “opening a bag of sugar and eating it right out of the bowl”? Why is this so?
2. In the same segment, Dr. Sweeney says, “We think that we eat what we like, but it’s actually that you eat it and then you like it.” In your experience, is this true?
3. What do highly processed foods full of fat, sugar, and salt do to our natural inclinations towards food?
Focusing on Your Community
1.At the beginning of this program, you were introduced to a community event, “Veggin’ Out at the Pool.” What is the benefit of a locally-sourced community dinner? What does it signify beyond one delicious meal? Think about your local resources and community businesses. Who could you call on to help organize a similar event in your own community?
2.How”brest-feeding friendly” is your community? What could be done to make it more breast-feeding friendly?
Section 2: Schools
“As a chef, one of the things I strongly advocate for in our education system is to see cooking classes come back – I think this
would be real powerful form of intervention as we look at health
outcomes.” — Jim Whaley, Chef Consultant
Before Viewing Section 2: Schools
1. What types of nutrition education programs are being taught in the schools in your community?
2. What did you learn about nutrition and cooking in school when you were growing up?
3. Do schools have a responsibility to teach nutrition and cooking, or is that the parent’s role?
Reflection and Comprehension
1. At Bloom Elementary they sum up their approach with a quote by author Michael Pollan, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” What do you think of this philosophy of eating?
2. What are the key strategies that all the schools featured in the program are using? What do you think the impact on Kentucky youth would be if these strategies were more widely adopted among other schools?
3. How are school lunches viewed at your local school, particularly by
parents and students?
4. Chef consultant Jim Whaley believes that students are craving fresh flavors and taste sensations. How can we respond to this need? What kind of
opportunity does this represent?
Focusing on Your Community
1. What would it take to get any of the key strategies used at these schools implemented in your community (e.g., a year-long hands-on nutrition
education, farm to school programs, school garden or cattle farm,
Meatless Mondays).
2. Brainstorm some realistic ways you, your organization, or your school can increase access to fresh produce and teach kids about nutrition?
Section 3: Community
“If you change an environment … if you change a system … you’ve
created an infrastructure for healthy food and that impacts more
people and has more staying power than just an individual just trying
their hardest with their will power in this environment that’s fighting
them at every turn.” — Anita Courtney
Before Viewing Section 3: Community
1. Think about your community – how does it influence what you eat?
2. What are the cultural norms around eating in your community,
for instance, traditions surrounding church dinners or workplace events?
Reflection and Comprehension
1. How does changing a food system have more impact on individuals than
telling them to go on a diet?
2. What is “contagious health”? What do you think about this concept?
Where do you see it in action now, if at all? How could you implement this concept in your own community without a formal program?
Focusing on Your Community
1. Where are the “food deserts” in your community? What is being done to increase access to fresh produce in those areas in your community?
What more could be done?
2. What other ways can you impact the food system in your community?
Discussion Guide for Youth Audiences
It is important to introduce youth to good nutrition because they are the next
generation of leaders. What starts with them will continue with their children, starting a cycle of healthier eating habits. Kids also have the ability to influence their
parents. The following discussion guide is a great way to help students see the importance of good nutrition and get them thinking about what they can do to make
a positive change in themselves and those around them. It is aimed at high school
Question Types
• Before Viewing: These are pre-viewing suggestions that help people become more aware of the pre-conceptions and beliefs they bring to these issues.
• Reflection and Comprehension: These are post-viewing questions designed to deepen viewers understanding of key ideas and concepts from the documentary.
• Focusing on Your Community: These are post-viewing questions that shift the group’s attention to opportunities for action in their own community.
Section 1: Early Childhood
Before Viewing Section 1: Early Childhood
1. What do you consider “healthy eating”? Do find current information about nutrition confusing or helpful?
2. In what ways do you think nutrition impacts your daily life? Do you
feel differently – emotionally and physically – depending on what you eat?
Reflection and Comprehension
1. According to the MyPlate diagram, what foods should “dominate” your plate? What foods actually dominate your plate? Consider keep a food
diary for a week to see what foods you eat and what food you need to
incorporate into your diet.
2. Why is it important for you to continue to try new foods and foods that you don’t like at first?
3. Why is it important to start eating healthy at your age?
Focusing on You an Your Community
1. If your place doesn’t resemble the MyPlate diagram*, what could you do to eat healthier? Would you be willing to try the MyPlate strategy for, say, a week? If so, how would you do this? How could you actively include new foods?
2. Consider the businesses within your community where you purchase your snacks. Do they have healthier options for you to choose? What are some things you can do to encourage these businesses to provide healthier snack options for kids?
* Find information about MyPlate online at www.choosemyplate.org. This website
offers information,videos, and a wide variety of printable posters and tip sheets.
Section 2: Schools
“Education to children about food is absolutely essential and if we
don’t do it we’re going to pay the price later on.”
— Serena Hirn, parent volunteer,“Food is Elementary”
Before Viewing Section 2: Schools
1. What does your school do to promote healthy eating?
2. What do you think about the lunches served at your school?
Reflection and Comprehension
1. What are some of the ways the students at these schools are getting
involved in their own nutrition education?
2. What are the students’ attitudes towards the changes being
made in these schools?
3. What is the significance of Meatless Mondays?
4. In the documentary, Jim Whaley, chef consultant, says that students today are craving new taste sensations. Do you agree with this?
Focusing on Your Community
1. Beyond the cafeteria, how does your school support nutrition? For example, what do booster clubs sell at snack bars? Does your school have a policy discouraging using food as rewards?
2. What kinds of activities could you organize in your school to support
nutrition education and awareness? Consider what adults you might need to talk to for permission and help.
Section 3: Community
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
— Michael Pollan, “In defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”
Before Viewing Section 3: Community
1. How do you think your community and environment influences
the way you eat?
2. What are the cultural traditions around food in your family and
community? Do any of them conflict with messages about good nutrition?
Reflection and Comprehension
1. What were some of the different community programs you saw? Which ones interested you? Why?
2. Which is more beneficial, dieting or changing the way you eat? Why?
3. What is contagious health?
Focusing on Your Community
1. After viewing this section, what do you think you could do to get your
community to help provide you with healthier choices at restaurants,
places of recreation, and similar places?
The Perfect Companion Piece to Well Fed:
More Than Child’s Play: Why Physical Activity Matters
More Than Child’s Play: Why Physical Activity Matters, a 2011 KET Special Report,
closely examines the causes, the serious consequences, and the possible solutions
to children’s sedentary lifestyles. The program underscores the connection between
physical activity and academic performance and attendance as it visits Wellington Elementary, one of two new health and fitness magnet schools in Louisville, which has
already attracted national attention for its innovative policies and cutting-edge fitness lab. Viewers also meet parents, students, teachers and administrators at Campbell Ridge Elementary School in Northern Kentucky, Hopkins Elementary in Somerset, Stanford Elementary School and Lexington’s Ashland Elementary, all of which are
finding exciting new ways to make physical activity a priority.
The program also looks at the role of community initiatives and policy changes
in creating more opportunities for children to be physically active. Faith-based organizations like The Kings Center in Frankfort, community efforts like Paducah’s “Bikes
on Broadway,” and statewide advocacy groups like the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky,
among others, all participate in keeping Kentucky’s kids moving, hopefully producing
a lifelong habit of activity that could move the needle on childhood obesity.
Visit the More Than Child’s Play website at www.ket.org/health/morethanchildsplay for more information and strategies you can use in your home, school, or community to increase physical activity.You can download a discussion guide to use with
More Than Child’s Play at www.ket.org/health/morethanchildsplay/images/cpguide.pdf;
it includes tips on hosting a screening, which you may find helpful in organizing an
event around Well Fed.
Well Fed and More Than Child’s Play were funded, in part, by a grant from the
Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.