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Nutrition expert calls for IOC to drop junk food

AUT media release
Friday 10 August 2012

Nutrition expert calls for IOC to drop junk food

Corporate, commercial sponsorship agreements with International and National Olympic Committees are undermining the future for our children, says a leading nutrition expert.

AUT professor of nutrition Elaine Rush says the NZOC should put pressure on their colleagues at the IOC to remove the public exposure to McDonalds and Coca Cola as major sponsors of the Olympics.

The IOC five rings along with McDonalds and Coca Cola are among the most recognisable brands in the word.

Collectively these three brands have immense power, and they will leave a legacy not of corporate social responsibility but of marketing junk food to children.

“One ad, which has been screening during the games, features a small child eating McDonalds chips while watching the Olympics," says Elaine Rush.

“We know that children look up to the athletes at the Olympics and rightly so. They are amazing athletes who have dedicated their lives to representing their country by achieving at the highest level.

“Millions of children receive the message linking fast food and drink with sporting achievement. This will not only be detrimental for their long-term health but adversely affects all of society. Products from both Coca Cola and McDonalds are energy rich but nutrient-poor. So not only is this adding to the obesity epidemic it is leading to our children having a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.

“Maybe McDonalds and Coca Cola are moving in the right direction by introducing healthier options but these foods and drink options still represent a fraction of their total sales.”

Professor Elaine Rush is convenor of the public lecture which is part of the ANZOS 2012 conference on obesity in October called: “For Our Children’s Children.”

The Ministry of Health estimates that one in 12 children (2 to 14) in New Zealand are obese as are more than a quarter of all adults over 15 years of age. The figures are worse for Maori and Pasifika adults where approximately half are obese.


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