Concerned about the climbing incidence of childhood obesity, Consumers International (CI) has launched a social media campaign to focus attention on the need for healthy diets.

The campaign, using the hashtag #JunkFoodGames, targets the Rio Olympics scheduled to be held in August, and the Euro Football Tournament, EUFA. These sporting events are watched by millions of people all around the world, and advertisers use it to promote among other things packaged food high in fat, salt and sugar.

If current trends are maintained, as many as 70 million children will be overweight or obese by 2025

Food companies are expected to spend $30.7 billion on ads in 2016. Official sponsors of both the Euros and the Rio Olympics include food companies associated with unhealthy products, such as McDonald’s and Coca Cola.

CI Director General Amanda Long said “It’s widely recognised by the public health community that using sport and celebrities to sell unhealthy food and drink products has a negative impact on children’s diets. …What’s more, companies use sport to market products because associating them with fitness and exercise helps create a health halo.”

CI has been pressing for a Global Convention to Protect and Promote Healthy Diets that would require governments to introduce a package of policy measures designed to help consumers make healthy choices.

CI is collecting examples of marketing in which the Euros, the Olympics and their respective players and athletes are used to advertise unhealthy food and non-alcoholic beverage products. Details of such campaigns will be published on Twitter and Facebook with the #JunkFoodGames.


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