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Olympics may contribute to obesity in China

Olympics may contribute to obesity epidemic in China

Sponsors’ products associated with the 2008 Olympics in Beijing will contribute to obesity and its related conditions reaching epidemic levels in China, warn researchers.

AUT researchers Dr Geoff Dickson and Associate Professor Grant Schofield have published an article in the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing entitled Globalisation and globesity: the impact of the 2008 Beijing Olympics on China.

“Western countries are currently in the midst of an obesity epidemic, and developing nations such as China are already showing signs of a similar crisis,“ says Dr Dickson.

“We contend that additional increases in caloric intake and declines in physical activity within the Chinese population are likely consequences of the 2008 Olympics and the marketing campaigns of their sponsors,”

The researchers claim that many Olympic sponsors promote high-calorie foods (McDonald’s), and beverages (Coca-Cola) as well as sedentary activities such as television viewing and motorised transport.

“Rather than representing the pinnacle of health and activity, the 2008 Olympics will serve to accelerate the opportunities for massive multinational globalisation. A consequence of this will be an increase in the mortality, morbidity and disability attributed to the major obesity related diseases for the Chinese population,” says Dr Dickson.

The researchers are calling upon the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to establish a physical activity, nutrition and health commission with terms and references similar to that of the IOC sport and environment commission, which advises the IOC on matters related to environmental protection and sustainable development.

“A Physical Activity, Nutrition and Health Commission would be in a position to ensure that each Olympic Games bid city makes an effort to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity,“ says Dr Dickson.


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