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Sports Teams Go To Bat For Junk Food

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Here is just one more reason why playing a sport is healthier than sitting on the couch watching a game. Researchers from NYU School of Medicine analyzed advertisements associated with the 10 professional sports organizations most popular among fans aged 2–17. Focusing on ads on TV, YouTube and team websites, the scientists set out to determine whether marketing was influencing the consumption of certain foods and nonalcoholic beverages.

Writing in the April edition of Pediatrics, the researchers stated that 76% of foods marketed through multimillion-dollar sports sponsorships were unhealthy and that 52% of advertised drinks were sugar-sweetened. The National Football League had the most food and/or nonalcoholic beverage sponsors, followed by the National Hockey League.

It’s likely that adult viewers are also influenced by sports organizations’ marketing of nutritionally lackluster foods and drinks. We can only hope that, someday, halftimes will be filled with commercials for apples and kale.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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