Being a Wise
Health Consumer18 Chapter 1
Being a Wise
䊳 Describehow to evaluate health products, services, and information. 䊳 Evaluatewhat advertising
does and does not do for a consumer.
䊳 Explainhow a person can avoid health fraud. 䊳 Identifyyour rights as
a consumer. Vocabulary • consumer • warranty • advertising • fraud • quackery
Making Healthy Consumer ChoicesYoung children do not decide when to visit a doctor or which brand of cough syrup to buy. When they become ill, they don’t search the Internet looking for information about the illness. Young children have limited opportunities to be consumers. A buys products or services for personal use.
As a teen, you are making more decisions about your health, includ-ing which products and services to use. So you need to know how to evaluate the products, services, and information you are offered. Products Picture the aisles in a local drugstore. How many of those aisles contain products that could affect your health? More than you might guess. Some of the items are obvious—snack foods, sports drinks, personal care products, and vitamins. There are medicines for treating indigestion, allergies, headaches, and colds. There are household cleansers and pest-control products, which contain substances that are harmful if inhaled or ingested. There are magazines with articles about health and advertisements for health-related products.
Dear Advice Line,
I buy a brand-name shampoo that costs twice as much as the store brand. The ads for the expensive shampoo say that it keeps your hair healthier. My mother says that the store brand is
just as good. Who is right?
Which shampoo would you buy and why? Objectives
Before class begins, write the objectives on the board. Have students copy the objectives into their notebooks at the start of class.
Call on a few students to share their written responses. Discuss how they might find out whether the more expensive shampoo is worth the extra cost without having to buy it. (ask people who have tried it; look for a consumer report on shampoos) Tell students that they will learn how to evaluate health-related products, services, and information.
Tell students that they have a choice of three brands of pain relievers. The three brands have the same strength, so they should choose the brand with the lowest unit price. Brand A costs $3.99 for 60 pills, brand B costs $2.49 for 35 pills, and brand C costs $4.59 for 75 pills.
Ask: Which brand has the lowest unit price? (Brand C has the lowest unit price, or price per pill. The unit price of brand C is $4.59 ⫼75 pills ⫽$0.06 per pill. The unit prices of the other two brands are calculated the same way and equal $0.07 per pill.)
Reading/Note Taking 1-4 Adapted Reading/Note Taking 1-4
Pair up students. Give each pair an advertising flyer from a store that sells both consumable and durable products. Have students classify the products to demonstrate their understanding of the terms consumableand durable.
Building Health Skills
Practicing Healthful BehaviorsHave students find two brands of a health-related product. Ask students to compare the two brands with regard to the factors listed in the text and select the brand they think is the better buy. Then, have students write a paragraph explaining their choice. Call on a few volunteers to read their paragraphs to the class. Discuss which factors most influ-enced students’ decisions.
Visual Learning: Figure 10 Caption AnswerSample answer: type of helmet, safety features, cost, and warranty
Allow students to answer this question in their private journals. Connect to YOURLIFE L3 EL L2 EL L3
Some products are consumable, meaning they need to be purchased again and again. Examples are hair care and skin care products, weight loss products, and sports drinks. The marketing of many consumable products is aimed toward teens and young adults. The makers of these products often claim that using them will improve your personal appearance or your physical performance. They may also suggest that a product will improve your emo-tional or social well-being.
Some products are durable, meaning they are meant to last for a number of years before they wear out. Most sports equipment is durable. Having the right equipment and protective gear is essential when you take part in an organized sport, such as football, or an extreme sport, such as snowboarding. The right equipment is also important when you exercise to maintain fitness.Some factors to consider before buying a product are its safety, cost, warranty, and consumer testing.
䊳Safety Read the product labels and other information supplied with the product to determine its contents and possible safety issues. Does a food contain a substance to which you are allergic? Must the prod-uct be used only in a room that is well ventilated, as when the windows are open?
䊳Cost Check to see if there are other brands or other products that will give you the same results at a lower cost.
䊳Warranty Is there a an offer to repair or replace the prod-uct if there is a problem? If so, how long is it good for and what does it cover?
䊳Consumer Testing Some government agencies and private groups test a wide range of consumer products. They publish their results and recommendations. Groups may endorse, or approve products that rate highly on their tests. By doing so, the group is saying that the claims made for the product by the manufacturer are true.
What kind of questions do you ask before you buy a product?
Making Healthy Decisions 19 FIGURE 10 This teen is shopping for a helmet to wear while he is skateboarding. Predicting What factors do you think he should consider before making a purchase?
Show students empty product packages or package inserts that illustrate all the fac-tors to consider before buying a product (safety, cost, warranty, and consumer test-ing). Ask students to find information
relating to each factor by looking over the packaging materials. Explain how to use the information to decide whether to buy the products.
Chapter 1, Section 4
20 Chapter 1
Services You probably don’t get to choose your doctor or dentist. But you do get to choose some services that can affect your health. For exam-ple, if you choose the wrong nail salon, you might develop an infection. If you choose the wrong health club, you might end up with an injury because of poor advice from a trainer.
When you evaluate a service, you need to find out whether the person who will perform the service is qualified.Whether you choose a service on your own or use a service chosen for you, there are questions you should ask.
䊳What kind of education and experience does the person have? Does the person have the required educational degree, license, or certification?
䊳Does the person have references? Ask for the names and telephone numbers of people who have used the service.
䊳Have any complaints been filed with your state’s Attorney General? Information Before you purchase a product or service, you need to evaluate the information you receive about it. Is it accurate? Is it useful? You need to ask the same type of questions about any health information you receive.To evaluate health information, you need to evaluate the source of the information.
䊳Is the source qualified to speak on the topic?
䊳Does the source bring a bias, or slant, to the topic? For example, are they trying to sell a product or service?
䊳Are there other reliable sources that reach the same conclusion?
䊳Is the information current and up to date?
Government agencies, medical associations, and non-profit private health groups often provide reliable information. So do reporters who specialize in science and health topics.
FIGURE 11 A fitness center is an example of a health-related service. Predicting How could attending a class as a guest help you to decide whether to join a fitness center?
Focus On ISSUES
Focus On ISSUES
Debate: Advertising and Health
Including all media, the average teen sees between 20,000 and 40,000 advertisements each year. Have groups of students support and oppose the following premise: Viewing advertisements has a major influence on teen behavior and health.
You might want to have students narrow the focus of the debate to advertisements for particular types of products. For example, do advertisements for “junk” foods contribute to obesity? Does seeing advertisements for alcohol make drinking seem appealing?
L3 Visual Learning: Figure 11
Caption AnswerI could find out if the classes offered are appropriate for my needs and if the instructors are attentive and knowledgeable.
Building Health Skills
CommunicatingIf any students attend fitness and recreation programs offered by local non-profit organizations, ask if they would be willing to be interviewed about these programs. Challenge students to ask the kinds of questions wise consumers might ask when they contact a reference for a service.
InfomercialsAsk students if they know what an infomercial is (a long commer-cial designed to look like an educational news program or talk show). By using this type of format, the producer hopes to convince viewers that the information being presented is reliable. Explain that few, if any, health-related products sold through infomercials will do everything the infomercial promises they will do.
The Effects of Advertising
To start students thinking about how advertising affects their consumer decisions, ask them to write a journal entry about a product they bought because of an ad. Students should describe the product and the ad, explain how the ad influenced them to buy the product, and note whether the product lived up to the ad’s claims. They should also comment on what, if anything, they learned from the experience.
Visual Learning: Figure 12 Teaching Transparency5
Bring in examples of each advertising method. As you discuss each method, ask students to think of other examples.
Caption AnswerSample answers: price appeal, because most people are on a budget; bandwagon approach, because people often do things just to fit in
Building Media Literacy
Tell students that advertisers may target ads to specific cultural groups through their selection of actors or models and through the situations shown. Have students look for ads that appear to target certain cultures. Ask students to write a paragraph explaining why they think the advertiser believes the given product will be of interest to people in the targeted group.
Allow students to answer this question in their private journals. Connect to YOURLIFE L4 L2 L3
Making Healthy Decisions 21
The Effects of Advertising
Businesses spend millions of dollars each year on advertising because they want to attract customers. is the public promotion of a prod-uct or service. Ads appear on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines, on billboards, and in movie theaters. They also pop up on the Internet. Everyone is influenced to some extent by advertising. But as a consumer, you need to base your choices on facts, not on advertisements.
Ads can let you know what products and services are available, but they rarely provide the information you need to make wise choices.For example, an ad may say that a certain medicine contains an ingredient that most doctors recommend. The statement may be true. However, this ingredient is likely to be found in all similar medicines.
An ad may say that a certain store is selling a product at the lowest possible price. Unless you check to see what the price is at other stores, you will not know if this claim is true. An ad may mention scientific studies. But unless the ad explains how the studies were done or provides actual results, a claim based on these studies may be false or misleading. Figure 12 discusses six methods advertisers use to sell products and services. For more information on advertising, see the Building Health Skill on analyz-ing advertisanalyz-ing appeal on pages 404–405.
Have you bought a product based on an ad? If so, how did the ad convince you to buy the product?
FIGURE 12 Advertising can influence people to buy certain products.Evaluating Which of these advertising methods do you think is most effective? Why?
Scientific studies Bandwagon approach Testimonial Comparison to other products Emotional appeal Price appeal
Scientific tests prove the product is effective.
Everyone is using the product. You should, too.
The product is effective because trustworthy peoplerecommend it.
The product is more effective than others. The product is safest for you and your family. The product gives you more for your money. Example
Don’t be left behind—use Product X.
Tests prove that Brand X works fast.
The medicine recommended by doctors
and their families
Choose Brand X—your family’s health
depends on it.
Brand X—the most for the least
Brand X now has 20% more painkiller
than Brand Y.
Less Proficient Readers
Have students find and clip magazine ads that represent several of the following advertising methods: scientific studies, bandwagon approach, testimonial, compar-ison to other products, emotional appeal, and price appeal. Ask students to label the
ads with the methods they represent and use them to make a chart of advertising methods. Students should highlight or cir-cle any clues in the ads that show which type of advertising methods they use. Display the charts in the classroom.
Chapter 1, Section 4
Q:I got a bad hair cut last week, but I didn’t say anything because I don’t like to complain. Is it too late to do something?
A:Most businesses want to know when their customers are not satisfied because they depend on repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising. If you do go back to the salon, be specific about what “bad” means.
Do a role-play with a friend to practice the dialogue you might have with the person who cut your hair. Also consider asking an adult to go back to the salon with you. If you don’t feel comfortable pursuing the issue at this time, just thinking about what you could say might make it easier for you to speak up the next time you have a problem.
Are Asking . . .
If a person tells lies to obtain money or property, the person is guilty of an illegal act called People who sell useless medical treatments or products are engaged in health fraud, or (KWAKur ee). These people are called quacks. Quacks promise that a treatment or product will bring about a miracle cure or at least greatly improve a person’s health. One danger of quackery is that it can keep someone from receiv-ing proper medical care. If a person believes that a quack remedy is working or might work, he or she might postpone seeing a doctor. Recognizing Health Fraud Quacks depend on people’s lack of knowledge and their desperate desire to find a cure. If a disease is life threatening, such as cancer, it is a likely target of quacks. So are conditions that are long lasting, such as arthritis or problems with weight control.
People can avoid health fraud by carefully evaluating the claims made about a treatment or product.These are some warning signs of quackery.
䊳Someone claims that a product or treatment is the only possible cure for a health problem.
䊳The promised results seem too good to be true.
䊳A product or treatment is said to cure many different ailments.
䊳A product is said to contain “special” or “secret” ingredients. Responding to Health Fraud If you have doubts about any product or treatment, ask a doctor or pharmacist. Notify your state’s Office of the Attorney General about any health fraud you uncover in your state. If a local business is involved, let your local Better Business Bureau know as well. If you buy a fraudulent product that is shipped to you by mail, notify your local postmaster.
What health claim have you seen that was too good to be true?
LIFEquackery fraud. 22 Chapter 1
FIGURE 13 Promises of impossible cures are a sure sign of quackery. Observing What claim does this poster make about wizard oil?
For:Updates on fraud, quackery and health Visit:www.SciLinks.org/health Web Code:ctn-1014
Visual Learning: Figure 13
Tell students that medicine shows were popular between the Civil War and World War I. Between musical acts or contests, people hawked products such as Hamlin’s Wizard Oil. The ingredients included alcohol or other drugs, such as opium. In response to the sale of such potions, Congress passed the Food and Drugs Act in 1906. Explain that health fraud is not a thing of the past. Ask students to suggest examples of current products that would qualify.
Caption AnswerThe poster claims that wizard oil cures all pain in “man or beast.”
Discuss reasons why people might be susceptible to health fraud (they are desperate for a cure, they cannot afford prescribed medications, they have a distrust of conventional medicine, or they see some evidence that the claims are true). Then ask why teens may be vulnerable to exaggerated claims about products targeted at their appearance.
Sample answer: I saw a health claim that a product could completely cure acne in 24 hours.
Use the Web Code to
access up-to-date information about fraud, quackery, and health. Have students complete the Web activity.
L3 Connect to
Gifted and Talented
Have interested students locate the Web site for the office of the attorney general in your state. Ask students to find out what services or information are available related to health fraud or consumer complaints.
Have students prepare a graphic roadmap that indicates pathways from the home page to relevant information on the site itself or on linked sites. Give students an opportunity to explain their roadmaps.
Your Rights as a Consumer
Building Health Skills
CommunicatingAsk students to write a paragraph explaining the three basic consumer rights in a way that is under-standable to students in grades five or six. Students should use examples to demonstrate the rights, and the exam-ples should be relevant to students in these grades. Arrange for students to share their paragraphs with younger students.
Visual Learning: Figure 14 Caption Answerthe Federal Trade Commission
Building Health Skills
Practicing Healthful BehaviorsDiscuss the steps for making an effective complaint (identify the problem, decide on your goal, collect documents, and identify the person in charge). Then, have students apply the steps to Kiana’s problem with her exercise bike.
FIGURE 14 These agencies help protect consumers from unsafe products and from health fraud. ClassifyingWhich agency would you notify to report false advertising?
Your Rights as a ConsumerKiana bought an exercise bike so she could stay fit all year round. A week later, a pedal broke off the bike. She went back to the store and was given a new pedal. Two months later, the speedometer stopped working. She went back to the store again, but the salesperson told her the exercise bike only had a 30-day warranty, and the store was no longer responsible. Kiana was upset but was not sure what her rights were as a consumer.As a consumer, you have the right to information, the right to consumer protection by government agencies, and the right to complain.
The Right to Information As a consumer, you need information in order to make wise choices. You need enough information to make an informed judgment about whether a product or service will be safe and effective.
Consumer Protection Figure 14 lists some govern-ment agencies that help to protect consumers. Some agencies test products before they can be sold to consumers. Other agencies take action against quackery. Some agencies remove unsafe products from the marketplace.
The Right to Complain If you have a problem with a product, complain to both the store that sold you the product and the manufacturer. Ask for a refund. Follow these steps to make your complaint effective. Use the same approach if you have a problem with a service.
䊳Identify the Problem Be as clear and specific as possible about what is wrong.
䊳Decide on Your Goal Decide on a fair way to resolve your complaint. Do you want a refund, replacement, repair, or credit?
䊳Collect Documents Gather sales receipts, warranties, canceled checks, contracts, or repair records to back up your complaint.
䊳Identify the Person in Charge Find out who has the power to deal with your problem. It may be a customer service representative or a manager.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Preventsunfair or deceptive advertising
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Protects public from sale of unsafe foods, drugs, and cosmetics
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Establishes safety standards for consumer goods and takes dangerous products off themarket CHILDREN CAN F ALL INTO BUCKET AND DROWN. KEEP CHILDREN AWAY FROM BUCKET WITH EVEN A
SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID.
Making Healthy Decisions 23
available from advertising, but you cannot learn all the information you need to make wise consumer choices.
4.by carefully evaluating the claims made about a treatment or product
5.the right to information, the right to con-sumer protection by government agencies, and the right to complain
6.Sample answer: to show the customer that the company takes the complaint seriously and values the customer’s business
8.Sample answer: What is the cost after the introductory period? What hours is the club open? Are staff members certified trainers? Chapter 1, Section 4
1.an offer to repair or replace a prod-uct if there is a problem; safety, cost, and consumer testing 2.For a service, you need to find out
whether the person who will per-form the service is qualified. For information, you need to evaluate the source of the information. 3.Advertising is the public promotion
of a product or service. You can learn what products and services are
Section 4 ReviewComparison ShoppingMake sure students understand the meaning of consumable. Students are likely to find that smaller stores have higher prices. They may also find that prices vary depending on the neighborhood.
24 Chapter 1
Put Your Complaint in Writing Sometimes you will
need to write a letter of complaint. It might be because you no longer live near the store where you bought a product or that you ordered from a catalog or a Web site. You might also need to write a letter if you do not get satisfactory results by complaining in person. A letter is especially important if the product has a time-limited warranty. Include the following information.
䊳the product’s model and serial number
䊳the location and date of purchase
䊳your specific complaint and suggested resolution
䊳your name, address, and phone number and the best times to reach you
䊳a summary of any conversations you had in person
䊳a reasonable date by which you expect action to be taken Be firm, calm, and respectful. Avoid writing an angry or threaten-ing letter. Keep a copy of the letter and all the documents.
If you don’t receive a response or are unhappy with the response, contact the national headquarters of the company. You can also write a letter to the Better Business Bureau or your local or state consumer protection agency. When all else fails, people may file a complaint in small claims court. These court proceed-ings usually do not require a lawyer and are relatively simple, quick, and inexpensive.
Section 4 Review
Key Ideas and Vocabulary
1.What is a warranty?What are three other factors to consider when buying a product?
2.In general what do you need to do when you evaluate a service or information?
3.What is advertising?What can you learn from advertising? What can’t you learn?
4.How can you avoid health fraud? 5.What three rights do consumers have? Critical Thinking
6.Predicting Why might a company president answer a letter from an unhappy customer?
7.Classifying A company chooses a popular sports figure to advertise a product. Which advertising method is the company using?
8.Making Judgments A health club has inexpensive introductory memberships. List three questions you should ask before joining.
Comparison Shopping Pick a consumable product that you use. Compare prices at as many stores in your area as possible. Write a paragraph discussing your results. Is there a noticeable pattern in the price differences? For example, does the size or the location of a store matter?
FIGURE 15 When you complain about a product, you will need documents, such as a sales receipt, to back up your claim. So you should store important documents in a place where you can easily find them.
These assignments can help you assess students’ mastery of the section content.
Section 4 Review
Answers appear below.
• Practice 1-4 • Section 1-4 Quiz
Ask students to write fill-in-the-blank questions based on the information in the section. Then, have pairs of students exchange and answer each other’s questions. Enrich