Publication Details

Macniven, R. & Kelly, B. (2012). Sports sponsorship and kids' health: who are the real winners?. The Conversation, 2 October 1-4.

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Over the weekend, Australian children and their parents witnessed some of the country's finest sportsmen display feats of strength, skill and endurance in the Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) grand finals. I'm sure many young people would have been inspired to emulate the actions and successes of their heroes.

What spectators and viewers would also have seen was the paradoxical promotion of Carlton breweries and McDonalds in commercial advertisements during the games. The websites of the NRL, AFL reveal a similar picture of sponsorship and marketing by unhealthy food and drink companies such as Coca-Cola and Red Bull.

We've also recently seen television adverts for Coles and Cadbury's, where Adam Goodes, the captain of the winning Sydney Swans, and player Dale Thomas promote products that are hardly the fuel of champions.

It's understood, and even expected, that adults might enjoy a few beers and perhaps some pub food during these annual events (and, no doubt, at player post-match celebrations). But the impact of ever-present junk food and alcohol advertising on those of a more impressionable age is of concern.