Many children and teenagers idolize professional athletes and hope one day to be like them. As a result, many of the products endorsed by athletes, ranging from sneakers and clothing to food items, become very popular among our youth.
A new study online in the journal Pediatrics specifically examined the nutritional content of the foods that sports stars endorse. The researchers found that 79% of the food products promoted by athletes fell into the “junk food” category. Additionally, sugar supplied 100% of the calories in almost all of the endorsed beverages. Some of these products include McDonald’s, Burger King, Oreos, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, and Gatorade. The athletes who most commonly promoted junk food were Peyton Manning, LeBron James, and Serena Williams.
Since many athletes are very fit and healthy, the take-away message is that athletes use these products and that these products are healthy. Advertisements are targeted to our children, and as parents, we need to educate our children about nutrition and teach them to read food labels. It is important that they learn that these products are not responsible for the success of their idols, and that hard work and eating right are the real building blocks to health and success.