Athlete Endorsements of Unhealthy Food
A new article in Pediatrics reports that 100 athletes endorsed 512 brands in 2010. Food and beverages constituted 23.8% of these endorsements. Seventy-nine percent of the 62 food products in these athlete-endorsed advertisements were energy-dense and nutrient poor; and 96% of the 46 advertised beverages had 100% of their calories from added sugar. Peyton Manning and LeBron James had the most endorsements for energy-dense, nutrient poor products.
Research has shown that food marketing can lead to increases in food intake, purchase intentions, and brand preferences. Food companies use athlete endorsements as a common form of food marketing to children and young people. This study assessed the (1) prevalence of athlete endorsements of food, (2) nutritional profile of foods endorsed by athletes, and (3) youth exposure to athlete endorsements of foods. This study reveals that adolescents saw more athlete-endorsement food commercials than adults.