Time for sport to ditch the junk

Parents’ Voice joins a coalition of peak public health organisations and medical experts in uniting to call for the end of unhealthy food sponsorship of sport. Led by Cancer Council WA, WA health experts say junk food and sugary drink sponsorships have no place in sport.

Parents’ Voice Manager, Alice Pryor, states: “Parents are fed up with sugary drinks and unhealthy food marketing to kids via their sporting heroes. It’s past time for the Olympics, and all sport, to set a better example for kids and ditch the junk.”

“Watching the Olympics with your family is a vivid memory for most children, evoking feelings of unity and inclusion through sport. This is not an event that should ever be accompanied by ads and sponsorships for sugary drinks, fast food and chocolate.”

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Coca-Cola is an official partner of the Australian Olympic Team as well as a ‘Worldwide Olympic Partner’ and is featured everywhere, including in front of every athlete at their media conferences. The power of this marketing was shown earlier this year when Cristiano Ronaldo temporarily wiped $US4 billion off the market value of Coca-Cola by removing the bottle and endorsing water. Placing a product in front of athletes and suggesting they endorse it is powerful marketing.

With the Australian Olympic Team also sponsored by Cadbury and with McDonald’s as a broadcast partner, our Olympic coverage is saturated in unhealthy processed food and drink.

Hannah Phillips, parent of two, worries about how to protect her children from this predatory advertising: “I want to be able to enjoy these moments with my family, but we can’t sit through a single event without being bombarded by these unhealthy food and drink ads. It seems our only option is to not watch.”

“I’m concerned about the influence of this marketing on our children. Why do these companies get to market to children through their favourite athletes? I want sport to support healthy behaviours, not undermine families.”

Alice Pryor concludes: “If the Australian and International Olympic Committees are not going to take steps to remove these unhealthy sponsorships, then the Australian Government must step up. One in four Australian children are now above a healthy weight. Government must set a better standard and put the health and wellbeing of Aussie kids above corporate profit.”


Media contacts:

Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au
Evie Dartnell 0401 596 797 evie@parentsvoice.org.au

About Parents’ Voice

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents, carers and health professionals. Parents’ Voice is supported by Diabetes Victoria and VicHealth.

To the Editor

Parents’ Voice is committed to ending weight stigma. Being overweight comes with a lot of health issues. Some of these are related to the stigma that is attached to being above a healthy weight. We urge you to use images that are respectful, inclusive, and non-stigmatising when reporting on issues related to body weight. For example, show people who are above a healthy weight participating in everyday activities that are not related to weight gain, and use images that include their faces.

Further information: Media Guide and Image Library

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