Question Sheet: Food for Life


Before reading:

  1. Do you think that you eat healthily? Why or why not? 
  2. Describe what you would consider a nutritious meal.

During reading:

  1. Why should people pay attention to what they eat when they’re young? 
  2. Describe the process used to update “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” 
  3. In what ways do the 2005 food guidelines differ from those that were recommended in 2000? 
  4. What information should you look for on a nutrition facts label on a food package?
  5. Why is exercise important? How much should kids get? 
  6. How are companies such as Kraft Foods and General Mills responding to

    unhealthy eating?

After reading:

  1. Based on the food guidelines described in the article, do you think your school lunches are healthy? Why or why not? 
  2. When you’re establishing national guidelines for food, certain businesses can get upset. How do you think scientists and government officials would deal with, say, the makers of cookies or white bread? 
  3. Suppose that one research team studying the health benefits of carrots might ask how many carrots certain people typically eat per week and link these numbers to how healthy these people are at a given moment. Another team might follow a group of people for 10 years or more, checking whether those who tended to eat more carrots per week ended up being healthier. Why would the results of these two studies on the same subject be difficult to compare? Why might the two studies give different results? Which study do you think would be more useful to

    scientists establishing new food guidelines? Why? 

  4. Given all the benefits of eating healthily, why do you think more people don’t eat that way? 
  5. Come up with four ways in which you could become a healthier eater.


Why do you think that a national government would decide to establish food guidelines? What would be the benefits of such an action? In what ways might it not be a good idea? Should the government be involved at all in recommending what people ought to eat? Why or why not? When did the U.S. government first establish dietary guidelines? See (U.S. Department of Agriculture).


  1. Each edition of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” is usually accompanied by a food pyramid illustration. Does the illustration always have to take the form of a pyramid? Come up with an alternative way of viewing health information. Write a one-page account giving reasons why your design would be better. 
  2. Write the script for a radio commercial explaining the need to eat more healthily. Test the commercial on a friend or two. Are they persuaded by your argument?


Suppose you want to build a three-dimensional, cardboard model of the food pyramid. If the base of the pyramid is a square with an area of 100 square inches and the pyramid’s height is 12 inches, what’s the volume of this model?