Sports Sponsorships Often Market Unhealthy Food and Drinks

Overall, 76% of foods had unhealthy nutrition scores, 52.4% of drinks sugar-sweetened
Overall, 76% of foods had unhealthy nutrition scores, 52.4% of drinks sugar-sweetened

HealthDay News — Sports sponsorships frequently advertise unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverages, according to a study published online March 26 in Pediatrics.

Marie A. Bragg, PhD, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues used Nielsen audience data to select 10 sports organizations with the most 2- to 17-year-old viewers of televised events in 2015. Sponsors of these organizations were identified and categorized. 

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The researchers found that youth watched telecasts linked to these sports organizations more than 412 million times. Forty-four food and/or nonalcoholic beverage sponsors were identified (18.8% of sponsors), which was second to automotive sponsors (46 sponsors). A total of 273 advertisements that featured food and/or nonalcoholic beverage products were identified 328 times; product logos were identified 83 times. More than three-quarters (76%) of foods had unhealthy nutrition scores, while more than half of nonalcoholic beverages (52.4%) were sugar-sweetened. There were 195.6 million views on YouTube sponsorship advertisements.

"Sports sponsorships are commonly used to market unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverages, exposing millions of consumers to these advertisements," the authors write.

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