Project Overview

Student Learning Objectives


Content Material


Links to Course Competencies

Supplementary Resources




Real World Learning Objects: Science

Bogus Weight loss Claims


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.

Materials: Computer with internet capability, worksheet and student directions.

Prerequisites:  computer skills if student will complete the assignment independently , 12th grade or higher reading and comprehension skills

Implementation: This RWLO can be used either as an assignment to be completed on the students own time, in a computer lab classroom or in the classroom with the teacher displaying the appropriate internet sites and the students working together in teams or pairs.


  1.  Distribute and discuss the student worksheet and assessment sheet so the students are informed of the requirements to fill in the worksheet grid and are aware of the assessment criteria for this exercise. Discuss the possibility of making up their own worksheet grid if they need more room to fill in the blocks of the grid then provided on the printed grid.


  1. Students will go to the FTC Red Flag: Bogus Weight Loss Claims Web Site that identifies the seven elements of a fraudulent  (bogus) weight loss claims.  They will write down these claims on their worksheet.  They will also note 2 variations for each claim.


  1. Students will identify at least 4 of these claims or their variations in the cases recently identified by the FTC as bogus claims and for which legal action has been taken against the product promoters. These cases can be found at

            This site is part of the FTC campaign against fraudulent

            ads aimed at the Spanish speaking population. The cases

            against the fraudulent weight loss products are listed there

            in the most concise manner. It has the added benefit for

           use with Spanish speaking populations.

  1. Students will note the case representing that claim and write title and the date of the case next to each bogus claim.


  1. Students will go to and search nutrition and diet aids. They will then find an ads from the 1940’s & 50’s that represents 4 of the seven bogus claims or variations listed by the FTC. To enlarge the ad so they can read it clearly they just have to click on the ad.


  1. Students will review the current FTC cases they identified to see how the old ads are similar to the current cases brought buy the FTC and write a short paragraph summarizing the similarities and differences   between the current ads  and those of decades earlier.


The Professor can facilitate a class discussion of the similarities and difference in the weight loss schemes of decades ago and today in lieu of student writing a paragraph. This would provide an opportunity to reinforce the importance of balancing caloric intake and exercise to maintain or lose weight.

The Professor can also discuss the role of education in combating false advertising. The FTC web site is providing media education to discourage the media from printing the ads.

The Professor could discuss the role of the FDA and discuss what would happen if the FDA had the authority to control weight loss products so that they would have to prove that they were both safe and effective.