This Los Angeles Times piece cites a new study that raises serious concerns about star athletes who promote unhealthy foods. In an embarrassing twist, the products in questions are ones made and marketed by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics partners like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kellogg’s.
“Superstar athletes Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams led their colleagues with endorsements of food and beverages that are calorie-dense and unhealthful – sending mixed messages about diet and health, researchers said.
Of 512 brands endorsed by 100 top athletes, nearly a quarter of them (122) were for food and beverages – 44 different brands in 2010, the year studied by researchers from Yale, Stanford, Duke and Harvard universities. (Some brands appeared more than once on the list.)
Nearly 80% of the 49 food products were “energy-dense and nutrient-poor,” and 93% of the 73 beverages got all of their calories from added sugar, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.”
It is only logical to think that if athletes are rightfully coming under fire for promoting these products, so would/should a national nutrition organization that has these companies on their conference expo floor and hosting educational sessions for its members.
Dietitians for Professional Integrity co-founder and strategic director Andy Bellatti is quoted in the piece and notes that “we have to reach that tipping point where advertising for soda is seen as irresponsible”.
One final interesting note:
“The Pediatrics researchers noted that tobacco companies had a history of ads with athletes including baseball legends Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. They noted that the industry adopted a voluntary advertising code in 1964 not to use athletes.”