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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Are Athletes Sending the Wrong Message by Endorsing Unhealthy Foods?

Lebron James Eating McDonalds

What do LeBron James, Peyton Manning and Serena Williams have in common? They are the highest endorsers of food and beverages, most of which are nutrient poor and high in sugar. These are successful athletes, the vision of health and fitness, and they are telling people to consume products that are anything but good for them.

Influence on youth

A recent study by a student at Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity showed that athletes are marketing unhealthy food and drinks to 12-17-year-olds who are impressionable and more likely to want the junk food being promoted. Even parents are more likely to buy foods that are marketed by professional athletes. Their thought is that if athletes endorse it, it must be healthy.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the products being promoted include McDonald's fries, pizza, Coca-Cola and Oreo cookies. These are sugar-loaded, high calorie, nutrient-poor foods that will lead to all kinds of health problems like obesity and diabetes. More than a third of U.S. children are already overweight or obese, with increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.


Researchers found that 79 percent of the foods being endorsed by athletes were lacking the nutrients needed to give children energy, and 93 percent of the beverages were full of sugar calories. What if these same athletes took a stand to promote only healthy products? You know that they do not eat the junk foods they push on others, so why not endorse products that are healthy? Only good could come from this change.

Come on athletes! Take a stand for our youth and quit pushing the junk food!
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