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Star athletes often endorse junk food, study finds

Jonathan Marker | Science Recorder | October 08, 2013

Star athletes often endorse junk food, study finds

LeBron James, Peyton Manning, and Serena Williams had more food and beverage endorsements than any of the other athletes examined.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University found that the majority of food and beverage brands endorsed by professional athletes are unhealthy, such as those for sports drinks, sodas, and fast food fare.  Supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rudd Foundation, the full results of the study will appear in the November issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed data collected in 2010 from Nielson and AdScope advertisement databases, and found that adolescents aged 12 to 17 viewed the greatest number of television ads for athlete-endorsed food.  Public health officials have previously censured the use of athlete endorsements in food marketing campaigns, as marketing campaigns have sought to promote unhealthy foods and send mixed messages to young audiences about health.  However, this is the first study to investigate the extent and reach of this type of marketing.

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