Planet Health

Planet Health book cover

Planet Health is an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on improving the health and well-being of sixth through eighth grade students while building and reinforcing skills in language arts, math, science, social studies, and physical education.

Through classroom and physical education activities, Planet Health aims to increase activity, improve dietary quality, and decrease inactivity. Such healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent overweight, and if sustained, can lower risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and osteoporosis.

The second edition of Planet Health includes revised nutrition and physical activity information, ensuring that you’re equipped with the most up-to-date science. The book also includes a CD-ROM with plenty of reproducible worksheets, parent information and newsletters, school health resources, and other teacher resource materials. Planet Health provides:

  • Little girl playing jump rope35 complete, ready-to-use lesson plans and 31 microunits that promote healthy nutrition and activity;
  • materials and instructions to implement Power Down, a two-week campaign to reduce television and other media viewing time, which you can launch in the classroom or school-wide; and
  • FitCheck, a self-assessment tool to help students track and improve their activity levels.

Planet Health is designed to fit within existing curricula and meets Massachusetts Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks and national learning standards for math, science, language arts, social studies, comprehensive health, and physical education. Teacher trainings, flexible design, and planning tools facilitate the implementation of Planet Health.

Planet Health is a tested intervention and has been measured for readability by the National Cancer Institute and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Principal Investigator:  Steven Gortmaker, PhD
Funders: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; University Gift
Funding Dates: 1995–1999; 1999–2003; 2003–2007
Contact: Steven Gortmaker

Peer-Reviewed Publications


Planet Health book coverCarter J, Wiecha JL, Peterson KE, Nobrega S, Gortmaker SL. Planet Health: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Teaching Middle School Nutrition and Physical Activity (Second Edition). Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics; 2007.


Carter J, Wiecha J, Peterson K, Gortmaker S. Planet Health: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Teaching Middle School Nutrition and Physical Activity. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, 2001.

Other Resources

  • The mission of Human Kinetics is to produce innovative, informative products in all areas of physical activity that help people worldwide lead healthier, more active lives. Human Kinetics is the publisher of Planet Health.
  • The Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. portal provides access to data and resources that can help planners, program staff, and researchers to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based cancer control programs. Planet Health is recommended by Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. as a research-tested intervention program.