As an awareness of the horrible problem of childhood obesity grows there are deepening concerns about high profile sports stars being paid a lot of money to advertise junk food for kids. The American Psychological Association notes that the childhood obesity epidemic is a very serious public health problem which increases morbidity, mortality, and has substantial long term economic and social costs. HealthDay reported on Oct. 7, 2013, "Star Athletes Often Endorse Junk Food, Study Says."
Although professional athletes are generally known for their fitness, the foods which they endorse are often not very healthy, according to a new study. This study has found that food and beverages which are promoted by sports stars such as Peyton Manning and Serena Williams are most often high in calories and low in nutrients. Out of 62 food products which athletes endorsed in 2010, 79 percent are in the junk food category. And just about all athlete promoted beverages derived 100 percent of their calories from sugar.
These findings are of concern. After all the message which comes through is that athletes actually use these products, and that the products are therefore healthy. Marie Bragg, the lead researcher of the study, has said associating an athlete to a food or drink "could lend it a health halo." These advertisements are seen everywhere such as TV, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and often kids often idolize sports stars. Clearly, athletes should be encouraged to stop promoting unhealthy food.