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A Healthy Body Image

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication

Curriculum Tie:

Time Frame:
3 class periods that run 45 minutes each.

Group Size:
Small Groups


Students will explore the impact of magazine advertisements on body image and individual purchasing.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Health Education - 5th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 3

Predict the influence body image may have on body acceptance.


  • magazines
  • sample advertisements
  • scissors
  • glue
  • poster paper for each group
  • markers

Background For Teachers:
Teachers need to be aware of how the language and pictures in magazines can impact body image as well as individual purchasing habits.

Web Sites

Student Prior Knowledge:
Students need to be able to identify advertisements all around them. Students should also have an awareness of the power of media influences.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Students will learn that media, such as magazine ads, can influence a person's perception of themself. Students will be able to recognize the impact of media on body image. Students will also be able to analyze the influence of media on needs and wants.

Instructional Procedures:
Step 1 - Show students the sample advertisements one at a time. Ask students:
"What is it about the ad that appeals to you?"
"How does the ad get people to buy the product?"
"How does the ad make the person/people look?"
"How could seeing or reading this ad make a person feel?"
"Does the ad tell the truth (give the whole picture)? Why or why not?"

Step 2 - Divide students into groups of 4 or 5

Step 3 - Hand out 5 magazines to each group along with the other materials.

Step 4 - Instruct groups to go through the magazines and cut out pictures or words from ads that make them want to buy that product or be more like the person in the ad.

Step 5 - Have each group present their poster to the class. In their presentation, group members should identify the type of products being sold, explain how wording or language is used to encourage people to purchase the products, and describe the people who appear in the ads.

Step 6 - After each presentation, ask students to indicate whether the people in the ads are attractive or unattractive. Follow up with, "Why would companies only use images of 'perfect' people to sell their product?"

Step 7 - Discuss how the 'perfect' images are produced; e.g., computer enhancement, combining various parts of different people to create one image, etc.

Step 8 - Have students write one page on how the media has or could affect their body image and how the media has or could influence their individual purchasing habits. Include also, what the media could do differently to make sure they are not giving out the wrong idea of the 'perfect' body or what it means to be healthy?

Assessment Plan:
Students will be assessed on their participation in their group, class discussion and writing assignment.



Created Date :
Jul 02 2002 12:35 PM