Study links sports sponsorships with “junk food”

Three-quarters of sports sponsorships in the United States are related to “junk food,” that is, unhealthy food products, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics.

The report reveals that 76% of the food products that appear in advertisements that promote the sponsorship of sports organizations are not healthy, while 52% of the drinks displayed in them are not healthy either.

The research, led by Marie Bragg of the University of New York, focused on the top ten sports organizations most frequently seen by children under 2 to 17 years of age, according to market researcher Nielsen.

To reach these conclusions, the experts analyzed advertisements that advertised food and non-alcoholic beverages on television, YouTube and on sports websites from 2006 to 2016 and verified the nutritional quality of the products advertised.

Among their findings, they found that the National Football League (NFL) advertised the highest number of ads for “junk food” and unhealthy drinks, followed by the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Minor League of Baseball.

In announcements of these organizations and within the analyzed period, they found 273 commercial promotions that announced this type of food repeated 328 times, according to data of the study.

However, the researchers could not determine whether it is sports organizations or companies that produce “junk food” that should take responsibility.

Chocolatemaker Hershey, one of the companies mentioned in the study, said in a statement sent to CNN that they support organizations “that allow athletes to exhibit their talents and serve as role models.”

“Sports are seen together by several generations who understand that our products are a pleasure, in fact, sweets represent a very small amount of the average diet of Americans (about 2-3% of total caloric intake),” noted Hershey’s communication department.

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