The push to get sports leagues to cut out junk food sponsors

Three children at hockey rink watching through the glass, with a Kraft sign etched into the wall just below them
Children watch a Buffalo Sabres' practice during the NHL Kraft Hockeyville 2010. Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

A team of scientists is calling upon sports organizations — including NFL and the Little League — to have healthier foods and drinks shown by their sponsors, in an effort to help cut childhood obesity. In a new study published in Pediatrics Monday, the team showed 76% of sports sponsors promoted food and drinks with a low nutrient amount and 52% showcased sugar-sweetened drinks.

Why it matters: Food and nonalcoholic beverage companies spend millions of dollars on professional sports sponsorships and strong associations have been made between food advertising and child obesity by other studies. The CDC says nearly 1 in 5 children in school (ages 6 to 19 years) in the U.S. has obesity and a separate recent study suggests children ages 2–5 have experienced a sharp increase in severe obesity.