Wheaties cereal has used top-notch athletes to grace the cover of their box for decades. Now, more than ever, the use of celebrity athletes to endorse food products is mainstream advertising. Michael Phelps and Frosted Flakes. Eli and Peyton Manning promoting Double-Stuff Oreos. Basketball star LeBron James and Sprite.
No doubt, these celebrity athletes can sell the goods.
A recent study conducted in the UK, and published in the Journal of Pediatrics, took a look at food products endorsed by celebrities and the impact on kid’s eating and their diet. The bottom line: the more prominent the celebrity, the more negative the effect on the food quality of kids’ diets.
According to the study, children were more likely to pick food – even fruit – when endorsed by a celebrity. In fact, they were likely to eat more of it, too.
Believe it or not, professional athletes are feeding your child.
Kids look up to professional athletes, and because of the inherent limitations in their thinking, they may believe that professional basketball players want them to drink soda. They may think that to be fast, they should eat sugary cereal. And, they may believe that to be strong and successful, they should eat cookies, like the Manning brothers.
Children, tweens and teens may have a hard time distinguishing between fact and fantasy. Athletes are not truly eating these foods on a regular basis. And it’s unlikely athletes eat whatever they want and remain an elite, high paid professional athlete. This subtlety is difficult for kids to understand.
Athlete-endorsement of less than healthy food has the potential to change what kids choose to eat, and the quantity eaten. Young athletes, and children in general, are already challenged by the sweets and convenience foods in our environment.
They don’t need professional athletes teaming up against healthy food too.
What's your opinion? Should professional athletes endorse unhealthy foods like soda, sugary cereal and other sweets? Leave a comment below!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
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