Nutrition/Health: Food Advertising Activity

Nutrition/Health: Food Advertising Activity

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

This activity will illustrate to students the food groups that are advertised the most on television and when these ads are aired. It's an excellent demonstration on the use of the media to manipulate eating habits.

Divide the class into groups. Ask each group to watch an hour of television during a different, specified time period:

  1. Weekend mornings
  2. Weekend afternoons
  3. Weekday evenings

Have your students record the total time of all food advertising during their hour, and the amount of time spent advertising each food group (as defined by the U.S. or Canada Food Guide).

Give each student a chart to fill in this information (see the next page). Using these results, have them make a  pie chart illustrating the percentage of time spent advertising each category. Some interesting patterns may emerge.

For example, what time period is used most for advertising children's cereals? Are fresh vegetables
advertised more than processed foods? Which food group is advertised the most?

1. Lilian W.Y. Cheung, Hank Dart, Sari Kalin, Steven Gortmaker,  Eat Well & Keep Moving - 2nd Edition, Human Kinetics, 2007.
2. Patricia Rizzo Toner, Diet and Nutrition Activities, The Center for Applied Research in Education, 1993.

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