Physical Education KS4 / GCSE: The effects of fatty foods

Michael Mosley investigates how the fat from foods affects our bodies by increasing the risk of fat deposits forming on the walls of our blood vessels and how a small amount of exercise can reduce the impact.

Michael is a British television journalist, producer and presenter who has previously undergone an MRI scan for a documentary that highlighted the amount of dangerous or visceral fat that had built up deep in his body around essential organs.

Michael’s participation in this different, but related short investigation involves him eating a full-cooked traditional British breakfast, providing blood samples and having a second breakfast, this time following exercise.

The resulting impact is significant and relies on the production of an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) which affects how the body deals with the fat.

The realisation that his own activity schedule has waned since his MRI scan and that his father had Type-2 diabetes takes Michael on an intensely personal journey.

Teacher Notes

An approach that combines the dangers of high levels of fat in our diets and the impact of even a small amount of activity in our daily routine on reducing the negative consequences of fat intake can be developed.

Pupils can discuss and produce a written bullet point summary as to why fatty deposits in blood vessels or surrounding organs are more dangerous than sub-cutaneous fat deposits.

Pupils should be tasked to explain why a small amount of exercise reduces the negative impact; and suggest what the impact of an increased amount of exercise (both in terms of time spent exercising and the intensity of the exercise) would be.

Reference to the food pyramid and types of training can also be made.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Physical Education at KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.