Current and former professional athletes frequently endorse particular brands and products, and they are often viewed as credible sources of knowledge on living a healthy life. 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. Researchers tracked 512 brands associated with the athletes, with sporting goods or apparel ranking highest at 28.3 percent, food and beverages at 23.8 percent, and consumer goods coming in at 10.9 percent. 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 aged 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. Ninety-three percent of the 46 beverages being endorsed by athletes received 100 percent of their calories from added sugars. Study authors conclude that promoting unhealthy food and drinks by well-known and physically fit celebrities sends a mixed message to children about diet and health. Professional athletes should be aware of the health value of the products they are endorsing, and should use their status and celebrity to promote healthy messages to youth.
Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I try to set a good example for our kids by buying—and eating—only the healthiest foods along with quality vitamin and mineral supplements. But lately it’s getting nearly impossible to keep track of what’s good and what’s bad. Is there any sure way to know?
A: In a word, no. Unfortunately, things that used to be considered good are turning out to either do nothing or possibly cause harm. And things we thought were harmful are turning out to be either neutral or possibly even good for us. Here are the results of just a few very recent—and completely contrarian—research.
[amazon asin=0778804208&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 1: Alexandra Anca, author of The Food Allergy Health and Diet Guide .
Topic: Managing food allergies and intolerances by eliminating common allergens and gluten.
Issues: Identifying the most common allergens; finding out for sure whether you have an allergy/intolerance; strategies for living with food allergies; preparing healthy, delicious allergen-free meals.
[amazon asin=1596438312&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 2: David Kessler, author of Your Food is Fooling You.<
Topic: How your brain is hijacked by sugar, fat, and salt.
Issues: Why we overeat; why it’s so hard to stop; how we can break the cycle once and for all; additional pressured by teens; helping teens stay away from potentially lifelong bad habits.
[amazon asin=0976287706&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 3: Preston Smith, author of The Potty Trainer.
Topic: The ultimate guide to potty training your child.
Issues: When to start potty training; how to do it; the importance of parents staying engaged in the process; the increasing number of post-potty-training issues such as bedwetting, daytime accidents, etc; when a toilet-related issue warrants a trip to the pediatrician.
[amazon asin=1581105851&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Guest 4: Laura Jana, author of Food Fights .
Topic: Winning the nutritional challenges of parenthood armed with insight, humor, and a bottle of ketchup.
Issues: How to pick your battles and arm yourself accordingly; tv dinners, fast foods and other nutritional minefields; the 5-second rule; influences of family, friends, and others.
My wife and I love to cook, and we go out of our way to make meals we think our kids will like – or at least eat! But time after time we find ourselves dumping untouched food into leftover containers, or worse, into the trash. Our children seem to eat nothing but macaroni and cheese, and we’re worried that they’re not getting what they need in their diets. What can we do?
This may not make you feel any better, but I’m betting that every parent reading this column is nodding his or her head in agreement. Apparently all our children got the same memo.
Your job as a parent is to encourage healthy eating habits and to provide a good variety of healthy foods. Of course, as you know, providing it and getting the kids to actually eat it seem mutually exclusive. Not to worry. Research consistently shows that despite the frustrating appearance of the almost-untouched after-dinner plate, even the pickiest kids generally meet or exceed their recommended energy and dietary requirements. (After all, you don’t see too many kids keeling over from scurvy on the school playground, right?) The body automatically seeks out the nutrients it needs.