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Anatomy of a lesson

Dr. Gregory Miller, from the River Falls Medical Clinic, helped Meyer Middle School 7th graders with their anatomy lessons with a presentation at the school last week. Debbie Griffin photo

Many people probably remember middle school anatomy lessons coming from a textbook, with maybe a rubber skeleton for illustration. But Meyer Middle School 7th graders went beyond the traditional approach during their 13-week focus on the human body by asking for straight talk from a local doctor.

Dr. Gregory Miller and staff members from the River Falls Medical Clinic brought anatomy lessons to life both through Miller's address, as well as videos detailing the inside of a colon and heart arteries.

The doctor told kids about the importance of healthy lungs, saying if they could stay smoke free until they're out of school, their odds of never starting go way up.

He asked the kids if they'd ever seen anyone who was trying to quit smoking. About half the audience raised their hands, many with knowing looks.

Miller talked about the problem of obesity and compared the numbers: About 15% of American people were obese in 1990; now it's about 30%.

He said obesity results from people taking in more calories than they burn. Many have jobs not in a farm or factory anymore, but in front of a computer. Also, food portion sizes have grown dramatically, including coffees with sugary flavoring.

Miller warned the young people against fad diets and other "miracle" weight-control solutions that are so effectively marketed. The doctor said if people look closely they'll see in the fine print, "results not typical."

The 7th graders showed they'd been listening when it came time to play the interactive quiz show, "Who wants to be a physician?"

A panel of three came up and answered all the health-related questions correctly, including "Of the tonsils, heart, gall bladder and appendix, what organ does the body have to have?"