Celebrity Endorsements May Contribute to Childhood Obesity

Can you imagine getting paid six million dollars to say three words? Well that’s exactly the deal Justin Timberlake made with McDonalds when he sang the catchphrase, “I'm Lovin' It.” But what effect does this advertising have on this food chain's young audience?

A study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that people are more likely to buy products if their favorite artist were to advertise them. This might not seem problematic, but most celebrities endorse products that are unhealthy. For example, many who self-report underage drinking also say they were drawn to alcohol if it was mentioned in a popular song.

Marie Bragg, author of the study, stated, “given that we have a childhood and teen obesity problem in this country, [these endorsements of unhealthy foods] are sending the wrong message to young people, and likely contributing to poor dietary habits.”

To help alleviate this issue, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative has gotten more than a dozen large food companies to cut back on marketing unhealthy products.

Further, to get kids to eat healthier, the organization Healthier America has launched a fruit and vegetable advertising campaign. While the advertisements in this campaign don’t have a big budget like a Pepsi ad, studies show that seven out of ten people who have seen or even heard about the campaign started consuming more fruits and veggies afterwards.

Even though the influence of a celebrity might tempt you to buy something unhealthy, remember that there are always healthier options. And after all, celebrity is just short term, while health is long-term!

[Source: The Salt]