What skills do we have for energy balance?

About this Guide

This Second Level guide will help you to create activities around the wellbeing indicator of Active using the Food and Health section of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum.

Suggested HWB Experiences & Outcomes

HWB 2-15a

I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health.

HWB 2-28a

I can explain the links between the energy I use while being physically active, the food I eat, and my health and wellbeing

Suggested Learning Intentions

  • To know that different foods provide different amounts of energy.
  • To know that different activities use up different amounts of energy.
  • To understand that we need to balance our energy intake (food) with our energy expenditure (activity) to maintain a healthy weight.

Suggested Success Criteria (I Can…)

HWB 2-15a

Explain some of the longer term effects of poor energy balance on health and wellbeing eg, weight gain.

HWB 2-28a

Investigate how I can help myself and others to achieve the correct energy balance of food intake and exercise.

Compare the amount of energy provided by different types of food.

Suggested Learning Experiences

  • Recap on prior learning from Early and First Level on why we need energy as well as reinforcing understanding of healthy and less healthy energy giving foods ie, energy from bread, cereals etc, rather than sugary snacks.
  • Investigate the energy needs of different people. Ask children to write down the reasons why different people might need different amounts of energy. Prompts include: age, size, gender, and physical activity. They should understand that young children have a very high energy requirement in relation to their size and that in later years, we require fewer calories from food but the nutritional value is still important.
  • Investigate the energy content in a range of foods by looking at a range of food labels (measured in kilojoules or kilocalories). Compile a chart of highest to lowest energy giving foods – discuss those foods and drinks that surprised them by the very high / low energy content. Sort and match foods from highest to lowest energy content and / or healthy and less healthy energy giving foods.
  • Investigate the current daily energy recommendations for boys / girls; men / women in the U.K. In groups/pairs, consider reasons for differences in figures.
  • Match the recommended daily calorie intake with pictures of a toddler, teenager, pregnant woman and an older person.
  • Ask children to estimate how much one serving of food actually looks like (e.g. dry pasta) by pouring into a bowl, and compare to the actual serving size shown on the packaging by placing the two side by side- is there a difference?
  • Collaborative Learning – in small groups consider the short and long-term effects of poor energy balance on health and wellbeing – this could be categorised into physical, mental and social effects.
  • Evaluate the foods on offer in  fast food establishments and discuss how effectively they contribute to promoting a healthy diet.
  • Invite a dietitian/health professional in to talk to children about the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity and how to achieve the correct balance of both.
  • Play this game to show the children how difficult it is to control what you eat with the amoutn of energy you use up. Energy Balance Game

Suggested Cross-Curricular Links

MNU 2-21a


Create tables, graphs or charts to display information about energy in foods / energy used by different activities. Discuss how effective these methods are and ask the children to come up with some alternative suggestions.

MNU 2-20b

Record a diary of  food intake and activity over a day – compare energy intake with energy expenditure. Evaluate  the  energy balance.  Discuss how to achieve a better energy balance.

SOC 2-15a

Research the health implications of poor diet and low levels of exercise in Scotland.

Investigate possible reasons for people being over and underweight in other countries eg, USA; third world countries.

Suggested Word Bank

  • Energy
  •  Fuel
  •  Active
  •  Carbohydrates
  •  Starch
  •  Cereal
  •  Potatoes
  •  Bread
  •  Rice
  •  Pasta
  •  Wheat
  •  Eatwell Guide
  •  Healthy
  •  Breakfast
  •  Long-Term Effects
  •  Exercise
  •  Slow/Fast Release
  •  Snacks
  •  Energy Balance
  •  Input
  •  Output
  •  Exercise
  •  Physical Activity
  •  Proportion
  •  Calories
  •  Kilocalories
  •  Kilojoules
  •  Recommendations
  •  Consequences