Monday, June 06, 2016

Study: Most food and beverage products endorsed by popular musicians lead to childhood obesity

Most food and beverages pitched by your children's favorite musicians are contributing to childhood obesity, says a study by NYU Langone Medical Center published today in the journal Pediatrics. "Soda and other sugary drinks, fast food, and sweets are among the most common food and beverage products endorsed by famous music personalities. Equally alarming, none of the music stars identified in the study endorsed fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Only one endorsed a natural food deemed health—pistachios."

Researchers, who identified the 163 most popular musicians, based on Billboard magazine's top songs—based on sales and radio play—Teen Choice Award winners and YouTube video views, found that 65 of those musicians promoted 57 food and beverage products from 2000 to 2014. Advertisements were played on television, radio, magazines, and included tour sponsors and official commercials and endorsements on YouTube and media sources. (Click on image for larger version)
Researchers found that 18 percent of ads were for food and non-alcoholic beverages, second only to consumer goods, at 26 percent. Of the 26 endorsed food products, 21 were deemed "nutrient poor.” Of the 69 endorsed beverages, 49 were sugar-sweetened. "Investigators determined a beverage’s healthfulness by looking at calories from added sugar. Full-calorie soft drinks were the most commonly endorsed in the category. In contrast, water-related endorsements appeared only three times."

"Food and beverage companies spend $2 billion a year on youth-targeted ads, with American children seeing approximately 4,700 ads each year and teens viewing 5,900 ads per year, according to Institute of Medicine research," says the study. "There were about 313 million views of the YouTube video versions for food and beverage endorsements associated with celebrities in this study’s sample, although unique views could not be counted. Celebrity food endorsements promote higher product preference, and exposure to any kind of food advertising is linked to 'excessive consumption,' according to research." (Read more)

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