Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Food, Fizzy, And Football: Unhealthy Food And Drink Promoted


Thursday 14 February 2013

Food, Fizzy, And Football: Unhealthy Food And Drink Promoted Through Sport

Public health researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW), are concerned that some food and drink companies selling unhealthy food also sponsor popular, televised sports in New Zealand.

The authors reviewed the websites of 308 New Zealand sports organisations covering 58 sports to identify sponsors and conducted 18 interviews with key administrators from national and regional sporting organisations. A quarter of websites had links to sponsors.

Sponsors were classified as healthy or unhealthy using the New Zealand Food and Beverage Classification System nutrient criteria for energy, fat, salt and fibre levels. The study found that a third of food/beverage companies sponsoring sport could be classified as unhealthy.

“Such sponsorship is likely to promote consumption of junk food and dilutes government recommendations promoting healthy eating”, says Associate Professor Louise Signal from Otago’s Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit.

“McDonalds and Coke are the greatest product sponsors, just like at the London Olympics,” Associate Professor Signal noted.

“And one of our most popular sports, rugby, has the unhealthiest sponsorship by far with 23% of brands and logos linked to unhealthy food. In contrast, netball has only 1% linked to unhealthy food.

“Given the recent increase in obesity amongst New Zealand children this is of considerable concern,” says Associate Professor Signal.

Currently, 11% of children aged 5-14 are obese, up from 8% in 2006/7, and at least 20% are overweight. The consumption of junk food is a significant contributor to this problem. Obesity is associated with a range of health problems including childhood diabetes, and heart disease, diabetes and cancer in later life.

“Our children deserve to be protected from the pressure to eat junk food while enjoying healthy outdoor activity, and parents need to be supported against pester advertising in their efforts to promote healthy eating to their children,” Associate Professor Signal argues.

The study by the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit at UOW also found that some sponsors continued to target children with additional marketing activities.

This is also developed through access to regional clubs and youth players providing them with product samples, merchandise and vouchers for purchasing more product.

“Counting logos does not capture the extent of marketing in sports and probably underestimates the extent of sponsorship,” say the researchers.

“Tactics included the use of ‘Player of the Day’ certificates for budding All White football players as young as four, and promotion of ‘Powerade’ by the All Blacks. ‘Powerade’ is not generally recommended for children,” Associate Professor Signal says.

The study found that healthy food and beverage brands also sponsor sport, with rugby again coming out on top with 21% of logos linked to healthy foods and cricket next highest at 5%.

Increasing such healthy sponsorship is a way to support children eating a healthy diet, say the researchers, and has been shown to have an impact. High participation rates in sport and increasing recognition of how diet benefits athletic performance suggest sports settings are ideal locations for promoting healthy eating.

All sports administrators identified the main benefit of sponsorship as financial. Although many reported sports organisations felt concerned about associating themselves with unhealthy foods or beverages, others considered sponsorship income more important than what type of food is being promoted.

Recommendations include sports codes requiring members to place a higher priority on health when selecting sponsors, and government regulation and funding to replace unhealthy food sponsorship with healthy sponsorship, just as for tobacco.

The recently created Health Promotion Agency is currently responsible for tobacco sponsorship replacement in sport. It would be a logical step to include replacement of junk food sponsorship in their mandate.

The paper has recently been published in BMC Public Health and is funded by the Health Research Council.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Leonard Cohen

If Bob Dylan owned the 1960s, Leonard Cohen was an inescapable presence during the early 1970s period, pre-disco and pre-punk. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Pick And Camera

Through the eyes of a miner – the photography of Joseph Divis: The occupations of miner and photographer are seldom combined. The conjunction must have been very rare indeed in the era before hand-held cameras, high-speed film and flashlights More>>


Howard Davis: Review - The Cosmic Dance Of 'String Theory'

Fly My Pretties sixth album is quite possibly their best yet - a concept album in the best sense, with superb arrangements, funky grooves, and some great vocalizing, all organized around the lyrical leitmotif of string theory. More>>

Non-Natural History: Dinosaur Eggs 'Discovered' At Auckland Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens plant curators have unearthed what are thought to be prehistoric dinosaur eggs in the Gondwana Forest section of the expansive garden in Manurewa... In fact, the “dinosaur eggs” are part of an innovative, larger-than-life dinosaur performance and display featuring a raptor, a crested therapod and a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex. More>>

For The Birds: Kōkako Crowned Bird Of The Year

The Kōkako has been crowned New Zealand's Bird of the Year after two weeks of close competition and heated campaigning. More>>

ALSO:

  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news