London 2012 Olympics: Assembly calls for ban on junk food sponsors

Posted: July 22, 2012 in London Olympics, News
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London 2012 Olympics: Assembly calls for ban on junk food sponsors

The London Assembly have called for a ban on the sponsorship of the Olympic and Paralympic Games by companies that produce high calorie food and drink.

Assembly calls for ban on high calorie Olympic sponsorship

Mouthful: The London Assembly are concerned about Olympic sponsorship from companies that produce products associated with childhood obesity.  Photo: ALAMY

A motion which was passed in Wednesday’s full meeting of the council urged the Olympic movement to adopt strict criteria for sponsorship of the Games which would exclude companies that are associated with products that are connected to childhood obesity.

In the UK an estimated 60.8 per cent of adults and 31.1 per cent of children are overweight. One of the aims of the Olympics was to leave behind a healthier legacy which encouraged more children to be involved in sport. The London Assembly believe that the sponsors behind the Olympics contradict that message.

Jenny Jones AM, who proposed the motion, said: “London won the right to host the 2012 Games with the promise to deliver a legacy of more active, healthier children across the world.

“Yet the same International Olympic Committee that awarded the games to London persists in maintaining sponsorship deals with the purveyors of high calorie junk that contributes to the threat of an obesity epidemic.”

Lead sponsors such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are both associated with products that are high in fat. A regular Big Mac meal with a fizzy drink, such as Fanta, contains more than 1,000 calories. A normal can of Coca-Cola contains 142 calories and even the diet version contains a controversial sweetener called Aspartame.

Dr Onkar Sahota AM, who seconded the motion, is concerned about the amount of publicity that these unhealthy products will receive. He said: ”The advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar is already restricted on children’s television.

“These Games will subvert those regulations by providing a glut of sponsored messages for high calorie food and drink that are at odds with the Olympian athletic ideal.”

The full text of the motion agreed at Wednesday’s meeting reads as follows:

1) The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) to recommend that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduces criteria for the selection of worldwide sponsors for future Games that exclude food and drinks companies strongly associated with high calorie brands and products linked to childhood obesity, and to encourage national organising committees to adopt similar criteria;

2) The Mayor of London to encourage the organisers of future major sporting events in London to adopt criteria for appointment of sponsors that exclude such food and drinks companies; and

3) The Government to consider introducing restrictions on advertising and exclusive marketing at major sporting events by such food and drinks companies.

London 2012 Olympics: McDonald’s ‘the wrong choice’ for athletes, says Team GB sport science head

Team GB’s head of sports science has said athletes would be “making the wrong choice” by eating at McDonald’s, the official restaurant of the London Games.

Marco Cardinale

Chipping in: Marco Cardinale says he expects athletes to avoid McDonald’s Photo: AP

6:03PM BST 19 Jul 2012

Marco Cardinale, who reports to deputy chef de mission Sir Clive Woodward, said he would be “very surprised” if squad members ate at the chain’s biggest ever branch in the Olympic Park.

In an interview with Telegraph Sport, he said athletes should continue to be disciplined after they compete because taking part in the Games is about responsibility and appearance.

His comments are likely to embarrass McDonald’s, which has sponsored the Olympics for the last 40 years. It has four restaurants in the park, including its biggest in the world, which can seat 1,500 customers. On its website the company highlights how it will “feed the Games”, including athletes.

But asked if British athletes would avoid the restaurant, Mr Cardinale said: “How can you say 100 per cent? All the athletes are going through this journey and they have got to the Games because they train hard. So I would be very surprised if the majority of athletes make the wrong choice.

“They have a choice of going to the Italian side and eating six dishes of pasta or having two burgers in McDonald’s, but I would be very surprised if the British athletes, considering the support they get on a daily basis, go and make the wrong choice.”

He said he had given PowerPoint presentations to encourage athletes to eat well.

“I think our athletes can be the catalyst,” he said. “They are the example, they are the people the nation looks at and they can be good role models.

“We got there because we work very hard, we look after ourselves and we make the right choices.”

The Italian researcher also called on policymakers to tackle poor catering in sport centres.

“We have got to educate people so they make the right choices,” he said. “How many times do you walk into a sport centre and see the food offering and think ‘this is wrong’. How can you have such food and vending machines near a sport facility?

“They are making the right choice by going to exercise and then you cannot make the right choice when it comes to food after exercising. I think it is something that will require policy.”

  1. Troy Willie says:

    Nice article, I just found it, simple but it has some good that made my day. thanks! =)

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