For the Classroom: Energy Equation

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

In the United States, childhood obesity is a serious public health problem. More and more children are at risk for health issues that were once only seen in adults. The equation
ENERGY IN= ENERGY OUT is a good way to think about weight maintenance. To keep a healthy body weight, you need to balance the energy you put in your body from food with the energy your body uses during physical activity. Using MyPlate as a guide for healthy eating and getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise every day can help children maintain a healthy body weight.

DID YOU KNOW?myplate

  • Obesity has more than TRIPLED in children and teens over the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6-11 YEARS in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012.
  • NC 5TH WORST in the United States for childhood obesity.
  • In 2012, more than ONE THIRD of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  • 4 OF THE 10 leading causes of death in the United States are related to obesity.

Try this BRAIN BOOSTER to build some physical activity into the classroom.


Grades 3 -5


  • Download and print Strength Station Cutouts.
  • Cut cards along dotted lines.
  • Explain directions to students:

    I am going to say a series of activities out loud. If you think the activity puts ENERGY IN our bodies, squat low to the ground ( demonstrate what a squat looks like) .

    If you think the activity is less healthy, such as eating candy, make a big X with your arms while holding the squat. Hold squat until next card is read.

    If you think the activity, BURNS ENERGY, jump up and down until the next card is read.

  • Read cards slowly so students stay in each exercise for a few seconds.

Find this activity and many others in Poe’s Nutrition & Physical Activity Classroom Calendar. Download it for FREE.

Image of SEptember month of Poe's Nutrition & Physical Activity Classroom Calendar.


This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, call 1-800-221-5689. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis or race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Right, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800)795-3272 (voice) or (202)720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The Poe Center is an equal opportunity provider and employer.