Student View


Read two opposing viewpoints and take a side; evaluate how advertising can influence decision-making when choosing what to eat; analyze deceptive advertising messages.


NHES 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology,  and other factors on health behaviors.

CASEL COMPETENCY: Self-management; responsible decision-making


dire, susceptible, economic, stigmatize, mouthfeel

Lesson Plan: Should Junk Food Ads Be Banned?

The U.K. might ban online ads for unhealthy foods. Should the U.S. do the same? Two Choices student advisers weigh in.


To what extent should the government be involved in helping people make healthy food choices?


  1. Why are junk food ads so effective, according to Brodie? Brodie says that these ads hijack our body’s natural ways of signaling hunger and can trigger mindless eating.
  2. Why does Katin think that banning junk food ads will create more problems than it will solve? Katin believes that banning such ads sends a message that these foods are off-limits. When kids believe certain foods are off-limits, it can make them want those foods even more.
  3. Ads often use deceptive language to imply things that may not be true about a product. Give at least one example of this from the example ad in the debate. Possible answers: The name “fruitypowerbear” gives the impression that the snack will give you energy, when in fact the sugar will just make you crash later; descriptions like “soft” and “chewy” can trigger cravings and make you forget that the snack might not be healthy.


  1. In the article, Brodie says kids are a “vulnerable audience.” In your own words, explain what this means in relation to advertising. Also explain whether or not you agree with his stance and why.
    Answers will vary.
  2. Do you think fast food and junk food ads are harmful enough to be banned? Explain your position, referencing evidence from personal experience or the article in your answer. Answers will vary.
  3. Aside from banning junk food ads, are there any other measures the government can put in place to help people make healthy choices? Explain. Possible answers: Making fresh foods more accessible and cheaper for all; requiring that stores and supermarkets avoid placing candy and sugary drinks near check-out lines.




CASEL Competency: Responsible Decision-Making

The U.K. is far from the only country that has banned junk food advertising. Have students prepare for a discussion by researching WHO’S BANNING ADS, ANYWAY?  In this activity, they should find five countries who have successfully given junk food ads the boot and describe  whether there have been any positive outcomes as a result. (Click here to find this Skill Builder.)



CASEL Competency: Responsible Decision-Making

After reading the article, students can try to spot any of the advertising tricks in their favorite snack. In groups or individually, have your students explain HOW TO RECOGNIZE DECEPTIVE ADS by focusing on the social media presence of a popular junk food. Have them screenshot a deceptive ad from the profile, prepare a short visual presentation, and make a final decision about their position in the debate. Consider creating a poll for your class using the debate question. (Click here to find this Skill Builder.)

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