Current and former professional athletes frequently endorse particular brands and products. These athletes are often viewed as credible sources of knowledge on living a healthy life.
In fact, previous studies have found that parents are more likely to purchase food products marketed by a professional athlete because they are perceived as being healthier.
In a study in the November 2013 Pediatrics, "Athlete Endorsements in Food Marketing" (published online Oct. 7), information was collected from 100 professional athletes ranked by their popularity and endorsement value.
LeBron James, Peyton Manning, and Serena Williams had more food and beverage endorsements than any other athlete, and they were the highest contributors in the marketing of energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods.
In 2010, children 12 to 17 years of age saw the most athlete-endorsed food and beverage brand commercials, followed by adults.
A majority of the food and beverage brand endorsements were for sports beverages, soft drinks and fast food.
What message does this send?
Professional athletes should be aware of the health value of the products they are endorsing, and use their celebrity status to promote healthy messages to youth. But, apparently, this doesn't always happen.
Author of the Pediatrics study, Marie Bragg, discusses with Melanie Cole, MS, how you can talk to your kids about these endorsements and how to make better choices... choices not simply based on these role models' ads.