Do Your Kids Want Unhealthy Foods because Their Favorite Athletes Promote It?

by Rachel Baker on October 7, 2013

There’s an interesting article on about a study in the journal Pediatrics. The study takes a look at the unhealthy endorsements made by star athletes.

A litany of pro athletes analyzed by the authors put their big names behind 44 different food or beverage brands during 2010, with 79 percent of those food products being “energy-dense and nutrient-poor,” and with 93 percent of the drinks receiving all of their calories from added sugar — including sports drinks, the paper notes.

Many of those food-and-beverage sales campaigns are aimed at young consumers.

“When taking into account the nutrient quality of the products endorsed and the amount of advertising for each product, Peyton Manning, LeBron James, and Serena Williams are the highest contributors to the marketing of unhealthy foods,” the authors wrote.

The promotion of those meals “by some of the world’s most physically fit and well-known athletes is an ironic combination that sends mixed messages about diet and health,” added the authors, who compared the modern players’ food peddling to the cigarette ads of bygone sports stars like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

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