|Nutrition Detectives is a video created for elementary school-age school children to learn how to read a food label and make healthy food choices. It was created by David Katz, M.D and his wife Catherine Katz, PhD in the Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. This video focuses on “misleading” food packages and how food companies may promote a food item as being “healthy” when it really is not. Children are educated through a classroom style teaching that includes interactive games, animation and activities. Nutrition Detectives is consistent with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. It does not promote any specific foods or brands. This DVD is adequate in sound quality and pacing is easy to follow.
This would be a good video to add to an existing curriculum. The speaker provides good analogies, activities and visuals. He breaks down a complicated subject of reading food labels so that younger children are able to understand and follow along. However, it is recommended participants have an understanding of basic nutrition prior to viewing the DVD. An example of this is when the speaker talks about high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oil, without an explanation or definition of terms. This video is geared toward children who already have an understanding of nutrition terms such as calories, sugars and fats. This resource is recommended for a SNAP-Ed educator who has existing nutritional knowledge.
Nutrition Detectives includes interactive activities that are appropriate for elementary school-aged children. Dr. Katz allows the viewers to participate so an educator showing this video does not need to bring any outside resources or activities. He uses appropriate language for the targeted age group. This DVD also includes a question and answer session with a parent and an educator, where Dr. Katz answers how to incorporate this into an already busy curriculum, how to get the parents involved and the importance of showing this video.
The video is broken into 5 chapters. The first chapter is the introduction. The second chapter is called “Super Market Spy Kids”. Dr. Katz details the importance of reading the nutrition facts label to get correct nutritional information of a food. The third chapter is called “The five nutrition clues”. These are clues to help guide the audience in making healthy food choices. The five clues are:
- Don’t be fooled by the big bold claims on the front of the box
- The first ingredient is always the biggest
- Partially hyrdrogentated oil or High Fructose Corn Syrup
- A long ingredients list often has things we should not eat too much of
- If you see only 1 gram or less of dietary fiber, you have caught a grain imposter
These are all good clues, but again the SNAP-Educator, as well as the children, need to have an understanding of nutrition terms before hand. The fourth chapter is called “Our Nutrition Safari”. The nutrition safari is an interactive activity for the children to put to use what they have learned. They go through life sized nutrition packages and determine the nutritional content of a food based on the food label. During this activity the audience is able to follow along. The last chapter is called “Playing with our Food”. This is similar to the fourth chapter in that the kids do an activity to test their knowledge of what they have learned. The children have a bunch of different food packages and have to decide which table to put it on, the “Bad Pile” or the “Good Pile”. During this part of the video the audience is not able to participate, so this would be a good time for the SNAP-educator to create his/her own activity similar to the one in the video.
In Nutrition Detectives Dr. Katz does a good job of making a complicated subject understandable to younger children. With previous knowledge a child can watch this video and learn the basics to reading a food label.