239811 Sports organizations' role in facilitating food marketing to youth

Monday, October 31, 2011

Marie A. Bragg, MS , Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Rachel Sam, MPH , School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Christina A. Roberto, MS, MPhil, MPhil , Department of Psychology/Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Vishnu Sarda, MBBS, MPH , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Kelly D. Brownell, PhD , Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
INTRODUCTION. Food marketing has been identified as a significant driver of the childhood obesity epidemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role major sports organizations play in facilitating food marketing to youth through their partnerships with food and beverage companies. METHODS. Ten sports organizations were selected based on the number of youth who watched their television programs during 2009. A total of 148 sponsors of these sports organizations were grouped into 13 categories: food/beverages, automotive, consumer goods, service providers, electronics, financial services, communications/office, sporting goods/apparel, entertainment, alcoholic beverage, retailer, military, and airline. Food products marketed most heavily in 2009 were assessed using the Nutrient Profile Model (NPM), a validated nutrition standard, while beverages were evaluated based on the percentage of calories from added sugar. Marketing expenditure data for these products were gathered from The Nielsen Company. RESULTS. One of every 5 sponsors was a food or beverage brand or company, making food/beverages the largest category of sponsors. Eighty-two percent (82.7%) of the 87 food products analyzed were less healthy according to the NPM and 56.4% of the 55 beverages analyzed have 100% of calories from added sugar. Among the 142 products analyzed, sponsors cumulatively spent 85.5% of their media-wide marketing dollars promoting unhealthy products across all age groups during 2008 and 2009. DISCUSSION. The 10 most popular sports organizations among youth have food and beverage sponsors that heavily market products that do not meet established standards for healthfulness. Sports organizations enable food companies to market to youth.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the prevalence of food and beverage company sponsorships of major sports organizations. 2. Evaluate the nutritional quality of products most typically marketed by brands that sponsor major sports organizations. 3. List the amount of marketing dollars spent promoting brands affiliated with sports organizations.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a graduate student in clinical psychology and conduct research on the food industry’s marketing practices and the effect of front-of-package labeling systems on consumers’ understanding of nutritional information and perception of food products.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.