Children 12-17 are the No. 1 viewers of athlete-sponsored food commercials.
So what are top sports figures selling this impressionable audience? Nothing too healthy. In 2010, nearly 80 percent of athlete-endorsed food products were energy-dense and nutrient-poor and more than 93 percent of athlete-endorsed beverages got 100 percent of their calories from added sugar.
In 2010, Maria Sharapova raked in millions of dollars from her own line of gummies called Sugarpova. Kobe Bryant earned around $12 million endorsing drive-thru burgers. Serena Williams hauled in tens of millions of dollars for serving up sweet words for cookies and other nutritional nightmares. But its LeBron James who wins the title of Junk-Food-Ad-Man-Extraordinaire. He earned around $45 million for endorsing a whole menu of bad foods, beverages and chewing gum.
But luckily, Mom and Dad, you can help kids resist these nutritional bombs. Most important, you can become the star who inspires your child by making good nutrition and regular physical activity a part of everyday life. Explain that an athlete may deserve respect for accomplishing major feats in sports, but that doesnt mean he or she has any credibility when it comes to suggesting what you should eat for breakfast.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.