Would teenagers be any slimmer if Katy Perry hawked kale and quinoa? New research doesn’t prove a link, but its authors think music stars popular with teens may be contributing to the obesity epidemic by endorsing fatty fast food, snacks and soda. The study shows that 20 of the hottest teen-music heartthrobs have done U.S. TV ads or other promotions for products nutritionists consider unhealthy. Of 107 food and drink endorsements included in the study, few were for nutritious foods, the researchers said.
Celebrities should leverage their influence to promote more healthful messages.
Researchers at New York University
About 80 per cent of celebrity-endorsed food ads were high-calorie products including snack chips and chocolate, or fast-food restaurants including McDonalds, Chili’s and A&W. Most of the beverage ads were for sugary sodas. The list includes Perry endorsements for Pepsi and Popchips; Justin Timberlake ads or promotions for Chili’s, McDonald’s and Pepsi; and will.i.am ads or campaigns linked with Coca-Cola, Doritos, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi. ead author Marie Bragg, a food policy and obesity researcher at New York University, said it would be unrealistic to expect teens to only eat healthy foods, or to ask celebrities to only endorse those products. She said “moderation” and “a better balance” of ads would be ideal.