Health ‘Advice’ from a Doctor (Upper-Intermediate ESL Lesson Plan)

ESL Level: Upper-Intermediate

Lesson Topic: Advice for living a healthy and long life

Skill Focus: Reading, Vocabulary, Speaking, Grammar

Lesson Plan Downloaddoctor-advice-health-upperintermediate-13092016.docx

Approximate Class Time: Two hours

Advice from a doctor

Health & Diet ESL Lesson Plan: Warm-Up

  1. If you don’t mind me asking, how is your health?
  2. What sacrifices do you make or exercise do you do to be healthier? Is it worth it?
  3. Do you come from a nation where obesity (being quite overweight) is a problem?
  4. Do you believe that there are guidelines we can follow for living a longer, healthier life? Or is our health and lifespan determined by luck?

Reading about Health: “Advice” from a Doctor

Foreword: This is a story that is regularly shared on the Internet that was written for British people. It is likely fictional and meant to be humorous. The original text had many grammar mistakes which have been corrected.


Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: The heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… Don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart won’t make you live longer; that’s like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: Oh no. Wine is made from fruit. Fruit is very good. Brandy is distilled wine, which means they take water out of the fruity bit so you get even more goodness that way. Beer is also made of grain. Grain is good too. Bottoms up!


Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can’t think of one, sorry. My philosophy: No pain…good!


Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU ARE NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil — how can getting more vegetables be bad?


Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It’s the best feel-good food around!


Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for the figure, then explain whales to me.


Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! ‘Round’ is shape!


Well… I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember, life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride!!”

AND….. For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies. 

  1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits (British people).
  2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
  3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
  4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
  5. The Germans drink a lot of beer, eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.


CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.


Health & Diet (ESL) Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

  1. Why doesn’t the doctor recommend the below items? Do you agree with him or her?
    1. exercise
    2. drinking less alcohol
    3. chocolate and fried food
  2. Do you think a professional doctor would give such advice?
  3. What is the author’s advice about how we should live our lives?

Health & Diet (ESL) Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the article.

  1. obesity (n)
  2. fictional (adj)
  3. humorous (adj)
  4. prolong (v)
  5. intake (n)
  6. Bottoms up!
  7. misconception (n)
  8. skid (v)
  9. relief (n)
  1. a phrase said before drinking the contents of your glass
  2. the condition of being very overweight
  3. to slide, usually sideways, on slippery ground or because you stopped or turned too quickly.
  4. A feeling of relaxation following the release of anxiety
  5. not real; not based on facts
  6. the amount of food/air/liquid/etc. taken into the body
  7. funny
  8. a view/opinion that is incorrect
  9. to extend the duration of something, e.g. your life

Vocabulary Homework

Circle the words that were new for you. Add them to your vocabulary notebook and make sentences for homework.

Grammar Focus: few/fewer vs. little/less

  • few       = not many; used only with countable nouns. Few people want to be obese.
  • fewer    = comparative form; used only with countable nouns. Italians suffer fewer heart attacks than Brits.
  • little      = not much; used only with uncountable nouns. The Chinese drink little red wine.
  • less      = comparative form; used only with uncountable nouns. The Japanese eat less fat than Brits.

Practice: Write four sentences using the above words describing the consumption of cocoa in 2008-2009. (Note: colors can be hard to see when printed)

 graph describing world coca consumption


Health & Diet ESL Lesson Plan: Group Work #1: Prolonging Life and Living Healthily

Your group has been invited to speak to an ESL class on the topic of prolonging life and living healthily. In a group, create a list of five (or more) tips for doing so. When finished, present your ideas to the class.


Health & Diet ESL Lesson Plan: Group Work #2: Health Topics

Option 1: Discuss the health benefits of the below topics with your groupmates.

Option 2: Choose a topic from the list below and spend 10 minutes researching its health benefits online. Afterwards, present a summary of your findings to your group or class.

  • naps
  • coffee
  • sugar
  • wine/beer
  • eating after 8 p.m.
  • `organic’ produce
  • losing weight by dieting
  • eating large meals vs. snacking
  • other: ________

Health & Diet (ESL) Lesson Plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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