iii Introduction We wrote this exciting new textbook for middle school health and wellness classes based on our experiences as professors of psychology (Catherine Sanderson) and biology (Mark Zelman), and as the accomplished authors of high school and college-level textbooks. Our backgrounds give us a deep well of knowledge of the most current scientific theory and research to draw from. Perhaps the most valuable experience we had in preparing us to write this book is our roles as parents to a combined total of seven children, ages 8 through 22. After all, in writing this book, we both reflected frequently on our experiences as parents and our goal of ensuring that our own children maintain excellent physical, emotional, intellectual, and social health. This book includes all of the standard topics found in middle school health and wellness books—including nutrition, physical fitness, substance use and abuse (including tobacco, alcohol, and drugs), stress management, disease prevention, and healthy relationships. We wanted our book to give middle school students the most current health information, presented in an engaging writing style so students would enjoy reading the book. Additionally, we included a focus on practical health skills that young people can use to develop and promote good health and wellness habits throughout their lives. As the authors of high school and college-level textbooks, we felt confident in our research and writing abilities, but felt that the pedagogy was better left to master teachers. We would like to thank Middle School Health Education teachers Lindsay Armbruster, of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District in Burnt Hills, New York, and Mary McCarley, of Hawthorne Academy High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, for developing the skills-based questions, activities, and features that are a vital part of this course. We are delighted with the final product, and wish all readers of this book a lifetime of good health.