Sports superstars endorse sugary, fatty foods

Oct. 7, 2013, Reuters

When Miami Heat star LeBron James isn’t scoring baskets, he’s busy — selling soda, sports drinks, and fast food.

But James isn’t alone. In a new study, many top U.S. athletes, from Peyton Manning to Serena Williams, were all over television promoting food and drinks, most of which aren’t very healthy.

“We see these people — they’ve obviously (reached the top) of sports achievement, they’re obviously living a healthy lifestyle — and they’re endorsing these foods. And that kind of lends an aura of healthfulness to these foods and beverages that they don’t deserve,” said Emma Boyland, from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

“The message is really getting mixed up,” added Boyland. She studies marketing and children’s food choices but didn’t work on the new research. Continue reading

Junk food makers target kids with free online games, study says

Oct. 4, 2013, HealthDay

By Kathleen Doheny

Free online games promoting food products tend to emphasize high-fat or sugary products, according to researchers who looked at 143 websites marketing foods to children through the interactive games, known as “advergames.”

Featured foods tended to be low in multiple nutrients or vitamins and high in calories, sugar, and fat, said study researcher Lorraine Weatherspoon, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition and director of the didactic program in dietetics at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Mich.

Children often see the game promoted on the food packaging, then go online to play. The games vary, but one cereal maker, for instance, has the product character featured in an interactive comic book online. A beverage maker has a game in which users “swap the sweets” — pictures of candy, cupcakes, and other treats — to make sets of three or more. Continue reading

Unhealthy ads dominate Spanish children’s television shows

May 6, 2013, NBCLatino

By Jacquellena Carrero

Latinos have some of the highest rates of obesity in the nation, and the results of a new study show that advertisers may be contributing to the problem.

A new study out by the Journal of Health Communication is showing that the vast majority of food advertisements on Spanish language television shows are unhealthy. According to the study, more than 84 percent of all foods and beverages advertised are low-nutrient and high-calorie products. The study, which was called “Food Marketing to Children on US. Spanish-Language Television” is among the first that analyzes food and beverage advertising on Spanish-language children’s television. The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Healthy Eating Research program. Continue reading

Research says junk food advertising reductions have been modest

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity has released a new report titled Trends in Television Food Advertising to Young People: 2011 Update.

It follows up on its 2010 update of the same name. Like other recent studies, this Rudd Center report shows some progress in reducing junk food advertising to kids younger than 12.

Continue reading