This activity page will offer:
a real world connection to diet and health
opportunity to develop proactive behavior that will maintain
experience in collecting and analyzing data, and drawing
1- Constructing The Challenge
Work with a partner.
Assign one color of gumdrop to a specific type of atom.
Use the illustrations below as a guide to construct models
of the molecular backbone of saturated and unsaturated fats.
One student constructs the saturated backbone, while the
other constructs the unsaturated version
of a Saturated Fat Molecule
of an Unsaturated Fat Molecule
How many bonds does each carbon atom form?
many bonds does each hydrogen atom form?
does the structure of saturated fat differ from the unsaturated
do you think that the terms saturated and unsaturated are
applied to these molecular backbones?
fats (due to their molecular shape) tend to be solid at room
temperature, whereas unsaturated fats tend to stay in liquid
form. Remember the image of the blocked aorta you saw in the
program? The plaque that accumulates within blood vessels
appears to be related to the properties of solid saturated
fats. Liquid fats seem to flow through the vessels without
reacting to form the wall deposits.
2 - Recording Your Diet
order to obtain a valid representation of your eating habits,
you should perform this survey over three days. So get ready
and keep a pen and recording sheet nearby.
to each meal, examine the labels of the food you are about
to eat. Then, record the following information on your diet
sheet. Remember to calculate the total quantities based
upon serving size. If you having a difficult time in determining
the nutritional composition of foods, check out this incredible
online database offered by the US
Department of Agriculture (NOTE: Be sure to click "Report"
for a complete list of nutrients for each item you enter.)
Make sure to record the information about all of the food
you consume including between-meal snacks. At the end of
the day, add up each of the columns and record your daily
At the end of the third day, calculate the average for each
of these four values.
3- How Healthy Is Your Diet?
10 percent of your total calories. Record that number. The
value you recorded for your saturated fat intake should
be less than this number. If it's not, your intake of saturated
fat is too high.
30 percent of your total calories. The value you record
for your total fat should be less than this number. If it's
not, your intake of total fat is too high.
was your average daily intake of dietary cholesterol? If
it was greater than 200 milligrams per day, then your intake
of dietary cholesterol is too high.
How did your nutrient intake compare with the guidelines
set by the American Heart Association?
you have an unhealthy intake of these nutrients. Is knowing
that you have a poor diet sufficient enough to change your
eating habits? Why or why not? What type of information
or what event might change the way you eat?
that you've calculated your dietary intake for several nutrients,
how do you feel about your current diet? Is it within healthful
bounds? Is it worrisome? If you are concerned about your diet
(or the diet of someone you know), check with your teacher
or school health professional. They will be able to direct
you to the best path of dietary counsel.
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
extensive coverage of the Framingham Study.
Heart Information Network offers a wealth of the latest
heart news and information.
MRI atlas of
the heart and aorta, showing healthy and diseased specimens.
coverage of risk factors associated with heart disease.
activities in this guide were contributed by Michael DiSpezio,
a Massachusetts-based science writer and author of "Critical
Thinking Puzzles" and "Awesome Experiments in Light & Sound"
(Sterling Publishing Co., NY).
Advisors for this guide
Corrine Lowen, Science Department, Wayland Public Schools,
Suzanne Panico, Science Department, Fenway High School, Boston,